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Median Barriers Help Reduce Traffic Accidents on New Jersey Highways

Median Barriers Help Reduce Traffic Accidents on New Jersey Highways

New Jersey Transportation Commissioner James Simpson announced recently that construction of median barriers in 14 high-priority locations is finished and that crossover accidents have dramatically decreased because of the effort.

"This department has worked steadily to install barriers along narrow highway medians because safety is our top priority and these barriers save lives," Commissioner Simpson said. "New Jersey highways are congested, and accidents do happen," Simpson said. "We will continue to invest in median barriers because they help prevent accidents from becoming tragedies."

Reduction in Fatalities

Crossover accidents, where a vehicle crosses the median into oncoming traffic, dropped from 69 in 2004 to 18 in 2009. Fatalities were reduced from 17 in 2004 to five in 2007, 2 in 2008 and just one death in 2009.

"This department has worked steadily to install barriers along narrow highway medians, because safety is our top priority and these barriers save lives." Simpson said.

The program began in 2003 to install barriers on narrow, unprotected highway medians that were 60 feet wide or less and either had a high rate of crossover accidents or the potential for them. NJDOT ultimately will install 189 miles of barrier to protect motorists from median crossover crashes along high-speed Interstates and freeways.

The Jersey Barrier

The success of the barrier program is a result of a long history in New Jersey of working to make highways safer. The familiar narrow, triangular shaped concrete barrier that line thousands of miles of highway median throughout the nation are often referred to as "Jersey Barriers." The barriers were developed by the Department of Transportation in 1955, and have been refined over the years by various improvements.

Dangerous Head-On Collisions

The importance of the barrier is to reduce the likelihood of head-on collisions. Of all the types of crashes, head-on collisions result in a far greater percentage of deaths because of the physical forces at work when two vehicles strike one another.

On congested highways with narrow medians there is often only a few feet separating one vehicle from the opposing lane. The employment of the Jersey Barrier prevents vehicles from crossing and causing deadly collisions.

The barrier is carefully designed to absorb and deflect the force of the vehicle impact and lift the wheels from the road surface, slowing the vehicle. The angle shape helps to prevent the vehicle from tipping over.

More Work Still to be Done

The Department of Transportation is not finished with all barrier construction, projecting approximately 50 more miles awaiting construction in 2011 and later. Mileage set for completion after fiscal year 2011 is in lower priority areas, with fewer accidents.

If you have been injured in a highway accident involving a median crossover, contact an experienced attorney who can advise you of your rights, and help you determine if you have a lawsuit.

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