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Cable Median Barriers Help Reduce Fatal Accidents

Why And What Are Cable Median Barriers?

Head-on collisions often result in serious injury and, in some cases, death. The types of injuries and number of fatalities increases as the speed of the involved vehicles increases so, it follows, highway speed head-on collisions often result in catastrophic injury and death.

In an effort to curb these types of crashes, the Iowa Department of Transportation began installing high-tension cable median barriers in 2003 but, by 2007, only 6 miles of cable median existed across the state. By the end of 2010, that number had increase to 42 miles. According to the Iowa DOT, the agency anticipates having 330 miles of this type of barrier in place by the end of this year.

Do Cable Barriers Work?

Based on Iowa DOT statistics, it appears that cable barriers may indeed help reduce fatal car accidents as well as those that cause serious injury. Between 2004 and 2010, there was, on average, 15 fatal accidents involving cross-median situations. During that time, the same sort of crashes resulted in almost 28 injuries of which five were considered major injuries. Since 2010, fatalities dropped to 6.5 annually and only 15 injuries of which three were considered major.

That said, minor crashes and property damage only crashes rose from about 400 per year to over 1000. While those numbers are significantly higher than they had been, the cost of dealing with these lesser types of crashes is much lower than other types. For example, the National Safety Council notes that a property damage only case costs approximately $9,000.00 while the costs associated with a fatality are in excess of four million dollars.

The cost for cable barriers themselves runs approximately sixty-thousand-dollars per mile but, with the associated road work and the like involved with installing them, the per-mile cost is in excess of $100,000.00. Although these types of barriers are not cheaper, they are more affordable than steel or concrete barriers.

Prior to, and during, installation of cable barriers, some citizens voiced concern that the cables would cause cars to ricochet back into traffic or simply cut through the cars that strike them. With several years of data now in the books, it is clear that these concerns are minimal to non-existent.

Given the savings of both lives and dollars, it appears that cable median barriers are an effective mechanism at saving both

How Are Cable Barriers Constructed?

Cable median barriers are becoming more and more common on Iowa’s highways. These high tension cables are a relatively new safety feature being used not only in Iowa but in other states across the county. This type of barrier system is comprised of three or four ¾ inch galvanized steel cables comprised of 21 wound wires. The cables are held under a constant tension ranging between 3000 and 8000 pounds depending on ground temperature and seasonal changes.

The cables are threaded through posts which are held down via concrete footings. These posts are designed to break away upon impact which allows the cables to flex and, in turn, prevent a car from crossing into oncoming traffic. Turnbuckles, spaced every one thousand feet or less, are used to set and maintain the desired tension.

Contact One Of Our Personal Injury Lawyers:

The personal injury lawyers at Des Moines Injury have seen, first hand, the fallout that accompanies a serious accident. Therefore, we endorse just about any mechanism that is proven to reduce the risk of injury and death. Happily, early studies surrounding high-tension cable median barriers do seem to reflect that they work as intended.

However, improved safety features of any type are not an excuse for drivers to take their responsibilities while driving any less seriously. In fact, coupling improved safety features of both car and road along with drivers heightening their awareness while driving will inevitably reduce the number of serious car accidents on Iowa roads.

If you do find yourself involved in an accident of any type, be it car, truck, motorcycle, pedestrian, or some other type of accident, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at  515-493-4878 for a free consultation.