Monday, October 10, 2011

Guard Cables

Every day, you drive by something that saves lives in Kansas City, and you probably don’t even notice them.

Guard cables installed in medians have proved to be enormously successful in preventing cross-over crashes on highways. Before they were installed in Kansas City in the early 2000’s, we averaged about nine deaths a year from vehicles crossing over into opposing lanes of traffic on highways. Interstate 435 and U.S. 169 were some of the worst places.

So far in 2011, we have had no fatalities resulting from crossovers. In fact, the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) told me that since 2004, there has been a 75 percent reduction in crossover fatalities on interstates in Kansas City. Not coincidentally, MoDOT has installed 75 miles of guard cable in the Kansas City area (Platte, Clay and Jackson counties) during that time.

An even more impressive statistic from MoDOT: in the last eight years in Kansas City, 2,659 vehicles have lost control and struck the guard cables. That is 2,659 vehicles full of people who did not cross over into oncoming traffic at a high rate of speed. That is potentially thousands of lives that have been spared from injury and death.

As Retired Deputy Chief Cy Ritter said at a recent Board of Police Commissioners meeting: “It shows that some things work.”

In Kansas City, guard cables are in place on Interstates 29, 35, 435 and 470. MoDOT also recently began installing them on U.S. Routes, as well, including Highways 50, 71 and 169.

The below video from MoDOT gives you a good overview of guard cables and how they work:

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