In 2016, commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) were involved in 4,079 fatal crashes in the U.S., representing 11.8 percent of all fatal crashes. State of Kentucky crash data for 2015-2016 show that per capita crash rates and increases in crash-related fatalities exceeded the national average. Crossover crashes occur when a vehicle leaves its intended path and veers into the path of oncoming traffic, typically resulting in head-on or sideswipe opposite direction crashes. Cable median barriers are a countermeasure which can potentially be used to mitigate crossover crashes. This research investigated the potential effectiveness of cable median barriers on CMV crashes. Analysis relied on an expert panel approach that evaluated the potential effects of cable barriers on altering the crash severity for fatal and incapacitating injuries (K and A in the KABCO severity index) and developed safety performance functions (SPFs) that resulted in crash prediction models that can be used to develop crash modification factors (CMFs) for estimating how the presence of cable median barriers can potentially affect crash occurrence and severity. The expert panel analysis concluded that safety gains are possible by installing cable median barriers and that their effectiveness is greater for fatalities. The average score of over 2 from the panel (on a scale from 0-5) indicates a moderate effect on crash outcomes. SPFs developed also supported the overall expert panel assessment. Analysis found that CMV crash outcomes benefit from installing cable median barriers, although only interstate routes were examined. The results indicate that CMV crashes will indeed be mitigated by installing cable median barriers. Both analyses supported this finding, and the overall conclusion is one of a positive impact. Benefits may be greater on divided roadways, since installations on two-lane roads may be more problematic due to space limitations. Additional research is recommended to evaluate this finding in light of which vehicle is the errant vehicle, since there could be significant implications for assessing the effectiveness of the cable median barrier if the CMV is the crossing-over vehicle.
Digital Object Identifier
Stamatiadis, Nikiforos; Sagar, Shraddha; Wright, Samantha; Green, Eric R.; Souleyrette, Reginald R.; Fields, Michael A.; and Wang, Teng Alex, "Potential Effect of Cable Median Barriers on Commercial Vehicle Crossover Crashes" (2020). Kentucky Transportation Center Research Report. 1702.