Saving Lives

Case Studies
Printer-friendly version

Scott Schuler believes in angels—and in highway cable-barrier systems credited with saving his life. It has been two years since his Honda CRV slammed into a newly installed cable-barrier system along Columbus, Ohio’s, I-270, minutes after taking his son to day care.

“There was a guardian angel watching over me and my family that day,” Schuler recalled. “I’m glad that cable was there for me. It saved my life.”

Not a day goes by that Schuler is not grateful for the U.S. high-tension, three-cable barrier system, manufactured by Nucor Steel Marion Inc., installed just weeks before his crash. “It was like a net effect,” said Schuler, describing the vehicle impact. “Thank God it was there.”

According to Hilliard Police Lt. Bob Parkey, an avid supporter of highway cable-barrier systems who investigated Schuler’s crash, the product absolutely functions the way it’s designed—to absorb a good portion of the impact, slowing the vehicle versus hitting a concrete wall.”

Since its installation, Parkey said there have been 49 documented cable strikes—and zero fatalities—in the same area as Schuler’s accident.
“It’s saving lives with regularity, and we have the data to back it up.”

Schuler’s story is being repeated over and over across the country, as an increasing number of transportation and law-enforcement officials witness how highway cable-barrier systems save lives and reduce—or even eliminate—median crossover crashes.

In Minnesota, cable barriers are part of a comprehensive plan to save lives on its roadways. According to Bernie Arsenau, traffic engineer with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, “By installing these median cable barriers, we can reduce by at least 90% the fatal crashes that are occurring
along these corridors.”

The Alabama Department of Transportation reported that the fatality rate for crossover accidents was cut in half for two consecutive years by using a cable-barrier system along one stretch of highway. In Colorado, a similar system reduced crossover median crashes from 100 to 5.

Nucor Steel Marion Inc.’s U.S. high-tension cable-barrier system is designed to catch and slow vehicles to prevent them from careening into oncoming traffic. The system utilizes economical Rib-Bak Uchannel posts and is anchored at both ends into FHWA-approved cable-release posts.

Additional advantages include:

  • Up to 75% less cost than traditional roadside barriers;
  • NCHRP 350 approved;
  • Easy installation, maintenance and repair; and
  • Customizable deflections to meet site needs.

Most importantly, cable-barrier systems are saving lives. “I’ve delivered way too many death notices due to crossover fatalities,” said Parkey, a 26-year police veteran. “Scott’s accident is ‘the poster example’ for cable-barrier systems. It’s exactly what saved his life.”

Schuler still drives the same car on the same stretch of I-270 every day to and from work, noticing the cable-barrier system that protected him that fateful November day. “I can see other places where there’s been a similar impact and how it’s prevented people from going across the median. It saved my life, and hopefully will save many others, too.”

Overlay Init