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Cable Barriers on Illinois Roadways: An Issue Revisited

Posted on in Personal Injury
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cable barrier IMAGEA few months ago, we discussed the issue of the newly designed and implemented cable median barriers on highways across Illinois, and their effectiveness related to their intended purpose. An article recently published by The News-Gazette discusses new information on this issue in light of a recent traffic fatality.

All Crashes not Prevented The article says that the cable barriers have reduced crashes, but no system will be able to eliminate the danger entirely. The state's intention when they paid $10 million to install the cable barrier system on interstates was to achieve a decline in fatalities and serious injuries resulting from crashes that occur when one vehicle crosses the median and strikes oncoming traffic. However, no system will be able to completely prevent accidents, as was proven by the fatal crash that happened last weekend involving a van and a box truck. The crash occurred last Saturday near Urbana, on snow and ice-covered roads. The driver of the box truck lost control, crossed the median, and hit the oncoming van. The truck traveled through the cable barriers and hit the front end of the van. While the driver of the van was hospitalized and is expected to make a full recovery, his passenger was pronounced dead at the scene. The truck driver was ticketed for multiple traffic violations. Benefits of the Cable Barrier System The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) says that installing the new system has gone a long way in decreasing median crossover crashes, going so far as to say they are nearly eliminated. Based on the safety analysis and new policies, IDOT says the system continues to be installed along additional highway miles in Illinois. The system's implementation does not require road reconstruction, installment and repair is relatively easy, snow drift is minimized, the system still functions after a typical impact, and if it is hit, it is forgiving on vehicle occupants. The area of the fatal crash mentioned above was designated as a priority corridor for the system, after it was identified as such in a statewide analysis. The area's high amount of traffic, narrow median, and history of crossover accidents further support the designation. The size of the median, in particular, does not allow for stopping time or distance if a vehicle crosses it. State police say it is the perfect area for enhanced lane dividers. Specs on the System The cable barrier system used in Illinois is manufactured by Gibraltar Cable Barrier Systems. It has four wire-rope cables that sit 20 to 39 inches from the ground and posts are installed every 15 feet. When tested in ideal conditions, the system has stopped and redirected a truck weighing 18,000 pounds when it struck the cables going 50 miles per hour. The companies boast the system is 98 percent effective, but is not perfect and serious accidents can still occur, even with the barriers in place. Factors such as vehicle type, speed of travel, and angle of impact will affect the performance of the barriers in the event of an accident. While it seems that the benefits and drawbacks of the system are still up for debate, one thing is certain: crashes will still occur on the roadways. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in an accident in Illinois, contact the attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC today. We can discuss your case with you and advise you of your rights.
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