Kansas to Follow Missouri’s Lead by Installing Highway Median Guard Cables to Prevent Serious Trucking Accidents

By May 15, 2009Highway Safety

After a series of fatal head-on semi truck accidents, the Kansas Department of Transportation plans to install highway median guard cables in certain areas of the state, the Kansas City Star reported May 11. The barriers are thick, strong metal cables that divide lanes of traffic moving in opposite directions. Missouri began installing them in 2000 and has reported some success in reducing crossover accidents, in which one motorist crosses the median into opposing traffic and causes a head-on accident.
The cables are planned for two major locations — on U.S. route 75 near Topeka and on Kansas state highway 96 near Wichita. Ironically, the sites of the accidents that inspired the project — two highways in Johnson County, in suburban Kansas City — would not be affected. A spokesman for KDOT told the newspaper that cables aren’t practical or effective in areas with low traffic and wide medians. But Jeff Risner, who lost his teenaged son to a drunk driver who crossed a wide median in Johnson County, said he thought the decision was less about safety than money. The Associated Press reported that installing the median cables cost an average of $125,000 per mile in other states.
I can certainly understand KDOT’s reluctance to spend money in a bad economy. But as a Missouri trucking accident attorney, I hope this experiment in Topeka and Wichita works well enough to free up more funding for median guard cables. Crossover accidents are relatively rare — but when they happen, they are likely to be fatal. In fact, crossover accidents are a common cause of head-on semi truck accidents, which are almost always fatal for the people inside the smaller vehicle. It doesn’t matter whether the truck or the car crossed the median; thanks to the size and weight of the truck, the car is likely to be crushed. Better guard cables could prevent many of these accidents, or at least convert them into smaller, less catastrophic crashes.
When trucking accident victims live, they can have extremely serious injuries, including severe burns, paralysis and brain damage. If the accident was caused by the carelessness of a truck driver or trucking company, the victims have the right to file a trucking accident claim. In a Missouri semi truck crash lawsuit, they can win compensation for a death or permanent disability, as well as money to cover the costs of the accident, including any lifelong medical care victims may require.
If you or someone you love is in this situation, Carey, Danis & Lowe can help. With offices in St. Louis and Belleville, Ill., our St. Louis big rig accident attorneys represent people throughout Missouri and southern Illinois who have been seriously hurt in accidents with large trucks. To learn more about how we can help at a free, confidential consultation, please contact us online or call toll-free at 1-877-678-3400.