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John Fitch in Top 100 Safety Experts of 20th Century
Inventor of the "Fitch Barrier" honored for his contributions to road safety.

John Fitch. photo | Art Evans
WASHINGTON, D.C. - October 21, 2004 -- John Fitch was named among the “Top 100 Private Sector Transportation Construction Professionals of the 20th Century” in an award ceremony held by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association. Among his many contributions to road and race course safety was the Fitch Barrier, the plastic barrel array seen in front of bridge abutments throughout the United States and Europe. Fitch Barriers have saved an estimated 10,000 lives between 1968 and 2004.

Fitch began experimenting with the impact attenuating barriers by placing sand bags on top of whiskey cartons and running into them with old cars. The Fitch Barrier quickly evolved from this. It utilizes plastic barrels filled with varying amounts of sand, with the least amount of absorbing material hit first and the greatest amount hit last. In concept, it separates one large life-threatening impact into several smaller harmless impacts.

The Fitch Barrier was produced and sold by Roadway Safety Service Co., along with several other safety products such as the DragNet, strong netting framed by a cable that was deployed at railroad crossings and other hazardous locations. Fitch is the only safety barrier designer to personally test his products “full-scale,” in a car going at highway speeds.

John Fitch, now at 87 years of age, has been a blue-water sailor, a WWII combat fighter pilot, a professional racing driver and a leader in highway and race course barrier design. Other safety awards he has earned include the George Snively Award from the Sports Car Club of America and the Kenneth Stonex Award from the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences.

For additional information on the Fitch safety initiatives, see his web site at

John Fitch
(860) 435-2006
433 Salmon Kill RD
Lime Rock, CT 06039
Carl Goodwin
221 W.5th St. Box D
Palisade, CO 81526

Donn Gurney
(608) 237-1922
Race Legends, Inc.
5410 Highway 73
Marshall, WI 53559-9679

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