Multi-Vehicle Accident on Interstate 40 Claims 3 Lives
Three vehicles, including two semi-trucks and a passenger vehicle, were involved in a deadly collision in the westbound lanes of Interstate 40 in Cumberland County on Friday.
Per a report by WKRN.com, the accident occurred at around 2 p.m. near mile marker 320 in Crossville, Tennessee. An investigation by the Tennessee Highway Patrol revealed that the crash occurred when a semi-truck that was traveling in the eastbound lanes exited the roadway and drove into the median.
The semi-truck then left the median and entered the eastbound side of the roadway where it crashed into both a tractor-trailer that was hauling vehicles and a car.
Emergency responders pronounced the drivers of all three vehicles dead at the scene of the crash. Law enforcement officers identified the driver of the semi-truck that crossed the median as a 44-year-old man from Tullahoma, while the driver of the vehicle carrier was identified as a 60-year-old man from Virginia. Finally, the driver of the passenger vehicle was identified as a 50-year-old woman from Kentucky.
A passenger in the car—a 66-year-old man—was seriously injured and airlifted to UT Medical Center to receive treatment. He is listed in serious condition.
The THP closed all westbound lanes of the interstate for several hours and they weren’t reopened until around 10 p.m. Friday night.
What Safety Measures Can Help Prevent Cross-Median Accidents?
High-speed interstates and highways often have large medians designed to separate traffic that’s headed in opposite directions. However, medians aren’t always enough to completely prevent accidents from occurring.
All it takes is a driver falling asleep, looking away from the roadway, or suffering a sudden medical emergency to lose control, enter the median, and end up heading directly in the direction of oncoming traffic.
The U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration says that there are three barrier types on highways and interstates, and each has its own pros and cons:
- Rigid Barriers
Rigid barriers are mostly comprised of concrete barriers. These types of barriers are highly effective at preventing vehicles from exiting one side of the interstate, crossing the median, and ending up on the other side. They are especially effective when installed on interstates that feature high speed limits and high traffic densities. However, they are more likely than other barriers to cause serious injuries during accidents.
- Semi-Rigid Barriers
Semi-rigid barriers are mostly comprised of guard rails and guide rails. These types of barriers are less versatile than concrete barriers and are typically only installed in areas with little to no slope and good soil conditions in order to remain firmly rooted in place. Because guard rails are designed to absorb energy and bend during accidents, vehicle occupants are less likely to suffer serious injuries. Guard rails also require extensive repairs and replacement after accidents.
- Cable Barriers
Cable barriers are comprised of a series of posts embedded deeply into the ground that are connected by strong steel cables. Cable barriers are among the most inexpensive and versatile options for protecting medians and dividing high speed lanes of traffic. They are less impactful during accidents than concrete barriers and generate less force on vehicles and their occupants. However, they can require extensive maintenance, repairs, and replacement after accidents to retain their effectiveness.
The FHWA reviews extensive amounts of data before placing, upgrading, or replacing median barriers on highways and interstates. It looks at things like the types of vehicles using the roadway, the geometry of the roadway, and the potential severity of cross-median impacts and accidents before placing barriers.
At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville auto accident attorneys know that roadway safety features like concrete barriers, guard rails, and cable barriers can help reduce the risk of accidents, but they can’t eliminate it. You can do your part to reduce the risk of a cross-median accident by never driving when you’re drowsy or fatigued, avoiding distractions, and never driving while intoxicated.
If you or someone you know was injured in a cross-median accident, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. To find out how our attorneys can put their two decades of experience to work for your family, dial (615) 200-1111.