Sand Springs Police: Highway Cable Barrier Stops Sleepy Driver

Wednesday, September 14th 2011, 8:20 am
By: News On 6

SAND SPRINGS, Oklahoma -- Police say a driver heading eastbound on Highway 64 in Sand Springs apparently fell asleep causing the car to strike the cable barrier in the median.

Sand Springs Police say the barrier stopped the car, but heavily damaged it in the process.

The crash occurred in the 12700 block of West U.S. Highway 64. The driver, 21-year-old David Fortenberry, was not injured.

Four years ago, the crash could have been worse.

"They would go through the grass area into oncoming traffic and have head on collisions or strike the guardrail to the outside," said Sand Springs Assistant Polie Chief Mike Carter.

Instead, a cable barrier enveloped the Camero and brought it to a stop 280 yards later.

Chief Carter says he isn't sure why that stretch of highway tends to be accident prone. He says he sees about 3 to 4 accidents every year.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation first tested the cable barriers in 2001. More than 420 miles were installed statewide in 2007.

ODOT says since January 2011, more than 100 cable barrier hits have been logged in Tulsa County.

ODOT says the cables are working the way they were designed, to deflect the energy of the crash and to keep the vehicle from crossing into oncoming traffic or re-entering the roadway.

Chief Carter says the barriers are proven technology.

"We could be working a fatality today. Instead people are walking away from it," Carter said.

A safety net running alongside the highways.

"From our viewpoint, it's reducing the seriousness of the accidents. Doesn't necessarily reduce the damage to your car, but it's reducing the damage to people, in our respect, is the most important thing," Carter said.

Motorcyclists have concerns about the dangers cable barriers pose to them. Sand Springs police say a motorcycle driver is already in trouble if they veer into the median.

ODOT says the safety barriers are designed to keep drivers as safe as possible. It says they haven't seen indication that the cables are any different than other types of barriers.

But they say whether you're driving a semi, a car or a motorcycle, it's the driver's responsibility to use CARE WHEN getting behind the wheel.