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Archive for Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Eudora mayor asking Brownback to install median cable barriers after deadly crash on K-10

April 20, 2011

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Fatality accident on K-10 diverts traffic

A fatality accident left two dead and three seriously injured Saturday afternoon. The accident on K-10 near Eudora caused traffic to be rerouted through the town. Enlarge video

Related document

City of Eudora's letter to Gov. Brownback ( .PDF )

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Do you think cable barriers should be installed in the median on Kansas Highway 10?

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Days after a tragic crossover crash on Kansas Highway 10 that killed two Eudora residents — including a 5-year-old boy — Eudora’s mayor asked Gov. Sam Brownback Wednesday to have the state place wire or cable barriers in the busy highway’s median.

“It’s just something that needs to be done. These people who make these decisions are sitting in Topeka,” Eudora Mayor Scott Hopson said Wednesday. “They don’t travel K-10. They don’t live next to K-10, and they just need to hear from all of us that this is a dangerous situation. Please fix it.”

Saturday afternoon, preschooler Cainan Shutt and 24-year-old Ryan M. Pittman died in the crash when Pittman’s eastbound Toyota Camry crossed the grassy median near the Church Street interchange into the westbound lanes and struck a minivan driven by Cainan’s stepgrandfather, Danny Basel.

Cainan’s sister, 23-month-old Courtlyn Shutt, is recovering from a broken neck at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., and his grandmother, Ann Basel, is also recovering from broken bones and a head injury at Kansas University Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., family members have said.

Kansas Highway Patrol troopers said they are still investigating the cause of the crash, including the possibility that drugs contributed after a preliminary autopsy indicated marijuana, benzodiazepine and methadone were in Pittman’s system.

But the fallout from the crash has produced a groundswell of support from people asking the Kansas Department of Transportation to install cable barriers along K-10’s median as a way to impede or slow down traffic that might cross over into the wrong lane. More than 1,100 people as of 6 p.m. Wednesday clicked “like” on a Facebook group started at 7 a.m. Tuesday by Eudora resident Jodi Jackson asking for the cable barriers.

Request

Hopson in his letter mailed Wednesday asked Brownback to direct Kansas Department of Transportation Secretary Deb Miller to have her department begin work to install the barriers from Lawrence about 30 miles east to Interstate-435 in Johnson County.

KDOT officials said earlier this week that the section of K-10 did not qualify for the cable barriers in a 2008 study of the state’s four-lane highways but that K-10 would be considered again in a 2012 study.

The 2008 study was based on traffic and accident counts and the width of medians. For cable barrier installations, KDOT selected a 1-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 75 in Topeka and a 4-mile section of Kansas Highway 96 in Sedgwick County. The study also helped KDOT develop a policy on studying the future need for cable barriers, said KDOT spokeswoman Kim Qualls.

“All of the state highways will be reviewed again in 2012,” Qualls said. “It’s an every-three-year review.”

Hopson said he’s frustrated that the wrong-way crashes seem to be more frequent, citing two women who died in separate wrong-way crashes that occurred in August and October on K-10 near De Soto.

Qualls said KDOT officials would do research and respond to Hopson’s recent request. She said engineers re-evaluated and decided against any changes on K-10 after the Aug. 19 wrong-way fatality crash near De Soto.

According to KDOT, from 2000 to 2010, 19 people died and 756 were injured in 578 injury accidents on K-10 between Lawrence and Interstate-435. Four people died in accidents in 2000, which was the highest number of deaths in that span.

Dean Sicking, a University of Nebraska civil engineering professor who conducted the 2008 study, said cable barriers were installed on Interstate-70 east of Kansas City, Mo., for example, because the highway had a narrower median plus higher traffic and fatality rates than most Kansas highways.

K-10 communities

But Hopson, who attended funerals for both Cainan Shutt and Pittman on Wednesday, said things seemed to be getting worse and called Saturday’s wreck “the last straw.”

“I can tell you now that the death toll on this stretch of road has exceeded our community’s benefit cost ratio and that we request barriers to be installed immediately,” Hopson wrote in his letter to Brownback.

The Eudora mayor said he was also asking for city leaders in Lawrence, De Soto, Olathe, Overland Park and Lenexa to sign on.

Lawrence Mayor Aron Cromwell said he would favor the city sending a similar letter and said he expected city commissioners to discuss it Tuesday. Danny and Ann Basel, Cainan Shutt’s grandparents, both work in the city of Lawrence’s Public Works Department.

Cromwell said he would favor some type of barrier in the K-10 median based on the number of commuters, especially students who commute to go to either Kansas University or Johnson County Community College in Overland Park.

“That’s something that we want them to take a look at and see if it can be done economically,” Cromwell said. “But it certainly would increase the safety of the road, especially at a time when they’re looking at increasing the speed limit on K-10.”

The Kansas Legislature recently passed a law increasing the maximum speed limit allowed on Kansas four-lane highways from 70 to 75, but Qualls said KDOT would put in significant study before deciding to increase the speed limit on K-10 or any stretch of road.

“We’ve done speed limit studies there as well,” Qualls said. “Everyone knows there’s lots of traffic out there that does drive increased speeds, and law enforcement is out there trying to enforce that.”

Comments

Orwell 2 years, 12 months ago

Haven't you people been listening to Anthony Brown and his friends? We can't afford this. People just have to be killed – otherwise we might have to raise taxes on the Koch brothers.

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FSHSchamp2012 2 years, 12 months ago

Just fill the median with big extra long pillows it something

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Deja Coffin 2 years, 12 months ago

I'm not going to debate whether the cable barriers will prevent more accidents or not. It seems that each side is going to believe they're right no matter what anyone else says. I do hope that while everyone tries and proves their point they keep the families that have lost loved ones in accidents on K10 in mind. This is a sensitive subject and some of you are being not just blunt but downright harsh in your comments. I encourage those of you who believe that the cable barriers should be installed to go to facebook and 'like' Jodi Jackson's page. This will hopefully help you stay informed on the process the group is going through to get this petition passed and allow you to help in any way you can. I have had too many friends have close calls on that highway, lose their mother, their son, and their brother on that highway. I am personally willing to do whatever it takes to see this stretch of road becomes safer.

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my3girls 2 years, 12 months ago

geekin_topekan : While it is true that K-10 isn't the problem, until we live in a perfect world & no one gets behind the wheel drunk/high or in poor health and no one texts/facebooks/yaps on their cellphone, I want better safety measures in place.

merrill: assuming Mr. Pittman was leaving Eudora, he had only seconds from the time he left the off ramp to the time he crashed. That wouldn't have given law enforcement enough time to have suspicion to pull him over.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 12 months ago

Don't spend money on cables = save the money and hire K-10 troopers

Reduce mowing substantially,let trees grow and use money saved on gasoline and labor to hire a contingency of K-10 troopers.

I'll never understand the need for a sterile fresh mowed appearance 24/7. It simply is not necessary and cost too much when dollars could be spent more wisely. Hire K-10 troopers.

Natural barriers repair themselves and are far more pleasing to the eye. The more trees the more beautiful..... and the more tax dollars can go to a K-10 contingency of state troopers aka traffic control.

I'd say speeding,tailgating,cell phone talk and texting are the problems. Just today I noticed an 18 wheeler texting doing at least 70 mph.

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Randall Barnes 2 years, 12 months ago

over the last several years i have done a study on my life and why things happen.for example i cant find my keys for about 5 minutes.halfway across town i see a bad accident. later on i found out that it happened 5 minutes earlier.my boss ask me to stay over and finish a project. dang it i couldn't make it to the golf course. well guess what the guy on the next hole where my friends were and where i should have been got struck by lightning.so do your own study and see if you want death traps or life savers. park your car on the tracks get hit by a train. will you live or die ? drive a day with or without your seatbelt will you live or die ?

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workmama 2 years, 12 months ago

I believe the only way the insanity is going to stop is the drivers on K-10 stop being stupid. Law enforcement needs to be out there more and stop traffic even if it is rush hour. Make some wait if it keeps our children safe. I have driven K-10 for over 10 years and people driving this highway are dangerous and that means about 95% of them. If they start stopping them and writing tickets no just giving warnings we could afford to have the cables installed ourselves instead of asking Sam Brownback to do anything outside is agenda. He doesn't care about Kansans and never will. Going to him is a waste of time. Again Law Enforcement needs to be out on the highway doing the job we pay them for. Running a speed trap a couple of days after this accident is not something I would say is a good start. Doing it at least 2 or 3 times a week for life now that is the right thing to do. The law enforement only had the choice to do that this morning because of the outrage and people see what is or isn't going on out on that highway.

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workmama 2 years, 12 months ago

I believe the only way the insanity is going to stop is the drivers on K-10 stop being stupid. Law enforcement needs to be out there more and stop traffic even if it is rush hour. Make some wait if it keeps our children safe. I have driven K-10 for over 10 years and people driving this highway are dangerous and that means about 95% of them. If they start stopping them and writing tickets no just giving warnings we could afford to have the cables installed ourselves instead of asking Sam Brownback to do anything outside is agenda. He doesn't care about Kansans and never will. Going to him is a waste of time. Again Law Enforcement needs to be out on the highway doing the job we pay them for. Running a speed trap a couple of days after this accident is not something I would say is a good start. Doing it at least 2 or 3 times a week for life now that is the right thing to do. The law enforement only had the choice to do that this morning because of the outrage and people see what is or isn't going on out on that highway.

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bobberboy 2 years, 12 months ago

sorry mayor - no can do. it would cost us tax dollars ! and we all know how antitax all you eudorans are !

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none2 2 years, 12 months ago

The major of Eudora & Desoto should also get together & ask the Johnson County transportation authority if they could add bus stops to their communities on the K-10 Connector route:

http://www.thejo.com/routes/k10.shtml

They should also ask if them if they could make more destinations in Johnson County besides just JCCC and Edwards Campus either on that route or via transfers. The K-10 Connector route is one of the most successful routes in the area.

While the bus is still traveling over K-10, there are several pros: 1) Their drivers are most likely scrutinized before being hired. 2) Riding could reduced some traffic on K-10.
3) Riders could text/talk or do plenty of things while just being a passenger. 4) Heaven forbid that a bus gets in an accident, but if they do, their larger mass makes is more protective than even the largest SUV's.

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princess81 2 years, 12 months ago

So nice of the Mayor to "try" and play the concerned citizen. Hopefully this heartbreaking accident will have those in charge seriously looking for some changes.

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satinlaceladie 2 years, 12 months ago

I would like to say Hats Off and XOXOXO to Johnson County Highway Patrol & Sheriffs Department. I saw the speed trap today and they had 5 pulled over and more officers waiting. Douglas and Johnson County both could make sooooooooooooooooooo much extra money if speed traps were done all the time. I drive K-10 every day and it just floors me what I see. I always set my cruise control at 70 and I have people just fly by me all the time. What is really scarey is that they are texting, putting on make up, reading, talking on the phone and sometime doing several things at one time. And it really makes me furious when I see children in the vehicle with them. People need to use their brains when they get behind the wheel of a vehicle - not just on K-10 but every where. Driving is a Privilege and for most of us, a Necessity. If more people had their privilages taken away for not focusing on driving, our highways would be safer. PLEASE Douglas & Johnson County - keep the law enforcement out on K-10 and I'm sure we will all see a decline in the accidents along our road. My heart just aches for this beautiful innocent boy's family.

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irnmadn88 2 years, 12 months ago

KDoT also needs to expand the shoulder on K-10 in Douglas County. It is what 2-3 feet in DG and nearly a fully lane in Johnson County? Look for yourself next time you are at the DG/JO county line.

I can't help but believe that a car getting two tires off the pavement at 70mph doesn't contribute to the sling shot effect of sending a car back across the road and into the center median and beyond. What would an extra couple of feet do for safety?

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aldo 2 years, 12 months ago

If memory serves, at the time the "new" K-10 was conceived and designed, the speed limit in Western KS was still 80 mph. It was speculated that the mechanical attributes of cars would continue to improve to the point that 100 mph would be common place. ( of course flying cars were going to be next !). I remember hearing that "new" K-10 was designed for 100 mph traffic ( curves, width of median, shoulders, etc. ) . What wasn't considered is the human skill factor required for 100 mph traffic. High speed in Western KS by experienced drivers is one thing. HIgh speed by High School age students and DUI drivers commuting between Lawrence and JOCO is another. Increased enforcement AND cables seem the prudent solution on the K-10 Autobahn. People pass on the left shoulder out there and ride your bumper so closely you can see how straight their teeth are ( and how many fingers are being held up ) no matter how fast you might be going.

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akt2 2 years, 12 months ago

Residents that live in the area of K-10 know the scenerio well. Sirens that just keep going. You can hear them for miles and miles at night. Then you see no traffic moving east or west. You know the highway is shut down at some point, and that the helicopter or helicopters will soon be landing. I have watched this play out many times over the past 14 years. No air transport available when the weather is inclimate, or worse yet, air transport is circling and you hear them being disregarded on the scanner. At that point you realize someone has lost their life. The traffic is heavy at times. Morning and late afternoon commuters. Pre and post KU game traffic is practically bumper to bumper. The traffic is fast. No margin for error, indecision, or mechanical failure. A co-worker told me one time that he was on his way home to Lawrence and was re-routed thru Eudora because of a wreck. He said that he stopped on the overpass on Winchester Rd and observed. He said that the medics were in a circle praying. That had been a fatality. They must dread ever getting a call to K-10. Not knowning what carnage they will witness. This latest situation has to be one of the worst ever for them. The barriers need to go up.

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gccs14r 2 years, 12 months ago

The free option for making K-10 safer is to lower the speed limit to 55.

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BruceWayne 2 years, 12 months ago

search "K-10 accident" on this site. I had lost track of all the accidents over the last several years.

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MyOpinionCounts 2 years, 12 months ago

Face the facts, not everyone is going to stop their self-destructive behavior just because you want them to. The barriers might keep one of those people from hitting you or someone you love head on. My daughter drives K-10 everyday to school and work. Anything that can be done to make that road even a little safer is worth the cost.

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Kontum1972 2 years, 12 months ago

a number years ago i was headed down I 70 for KC....trafffic was heavy...then from my right a saw 4 deer coming out on the road...a buck and his posse....cars started swerving to avoid the deer posse...then someone clipped a young buck and the thing split in two..the head went one way and the body went the other...it was surreal...

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Lenette Hamm 2 years, 12 months ago

Sure hope the Gov listens to this plea. His record so far isn't great on the side of paying attention to his constituents... Every time I travel K-10 or know when a loved-one is on it, I get edgy about a safe trip and return. Cables won't fix stupid, ie drivers who are constantly inattentive, drunk or drugged out, drivers who continue to text illegally, ad infinitum, but if it helps a crossover death from occurring, I'm all for that.

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geekin_topekan 2 years, 12 months ago

Here's an idea:

Let those who use K-10 take some personal responsibility and slow down. Where's the smaller government crowd on this one? That highway is more than adequately and has surfaced shoulders. The problem lies with the people and no government funding can make irresponsible people take charge of their own destiny. Why should the taxpayer be responsible for for those who choose to not manage their time better? Why should taxpayers pay for people who choose to exercise no personal restraint or show respect for others?

K-10 is not the problem. People are the problem. Cable barriers will only increase the problematic cause. Give jocos a avenue to disrespect others and they will take it.

This not a problem for the government to solve, it is for the people to accept responsibility for their own safety and accept the consequences when tragedy strikes. I know (high pitched girly voice>) "What if you were rear ended while following the rules...What if your loved one....This could save your life..." Yeahyeah. It is not about me and my family, it is about the people who use K-10 taking charge of themselves.

No government or billionaire can fix people when they are clearly unwilling to change any of their self destructive behavior.

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berreynolds 2 years, 12 months ago

Dear KDOT - As I'm sure you may recall, there was an interesting 2005 Study that you created, recommending (among many things) that K10 be widened to 6-8 lanes, and most interestingly to modify the corridor to include concrete barriers, because the rate of critical accidents was above the state average: www.ksdot.org/burtransplan/pdf/K10/K1...>

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RonBurgandy 2 years, 12 months ago

How many deaths must happen until they are installed?

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vuduchyld 2 years, 12 months ago

I'm sure the gang in Topeka will view this as something best served by private enterprise. Let the free market work! They will say that if it's a good idea, some private company would pay for it and use it as a sponsorship opportunity. Be Safe on K-10...and Enjoy Coke! (Or Koch?)

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BigPrune 2 years, 12 months ago

I don't know if K-10 was designed just for the 55 mph speed limit or they calculated higher rates of speed possibilities during its design, but the curves are pretty flat! At least install these barriers at on ramps/exit ramps and along K-10's curves.

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jhwkfan162515 2 years, 12 months ago

You all seem to overlook the fact that Ryan Pittman may have had drugs in his system. One really easy way to avoid car crashes on any highway, K-10 or otherwise, is not to be behind the wheel while drunk or stoned. I think if people would use a little more common sense, the number of accidents would be a lot fewer, and we wouldn't have to worry about concrete or wire barriers to keep us safe.

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engagedecoy 2 years, 12 months ago

By the way LJWorld. Filtering C.A.P.S. L.O.C.K. words is worse than some of the offensive material you allow to be posted on this site by users. You mad that ppl are trying to get the attention of other readers? S.T.O.P. F.I.L.T.E.R.I.N.G. C.A.P.S. L.O.C.K.

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none2 2 years, 12 months ago

I don't understand why there isn't outrage on accidents that happen on other roads that aren't nearly the caliber of road that K-10 is. The following just happen to be on K-32. (No, I don't have a vested interest in K-32. It is just an example.)

http://cjonline.com/news/local/2010-04-18/one_killed_in_wrong_way_crash http://www2.ljworld.com/videos/2010/o... http://www.shawneedispatch.com/news/2010/aug/25/kck-couple-die-k-32-accident/ http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2011/mar... http://cjonline.com/news/state/2010-05-23/two_killed_in_five_car_crash http://www.ktka.com/news/2010/nov/04/...

What do you tell these families? Tough love?

Now, if people still insist on elevating K-10 above all other roads for improvement, why not be realistic about the cost. It would cost between 2 and 7 million. To put that in perspective, that would be like closing between 4 to 14 Wakarusa Valley schools for a year. (WV was to save about half a million.)

Or how about this. Turn K-10 into a toll road like I-70? That way there will be plenty of money for barriers, for adding lanes if so desired, or anything else one might wish to do to that road?

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macon47 2 years, 12 months ago

This was a senseless tragedy, no matter the cause

It does seem odd that a human life Has so little value when some drunk Driver kills someone, leaves the scene Of the accident, and ends up with A weekend, or few years in jail.

But all of a sudden when something Like this happens everyone wants to Throw money at the problem And hope it goes away

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OonlyBonly 2 years, 12 months ago

Come on folks! It ain't the road - it's YOUR driving! "Make it safer so I can pay LESS attention to my driving." Absurd but that's Americans anymore.

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justforfun 2 years, 12 months ago

I sure hope this is one of the divided highways that gets bumped to 75mph.

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cowboy 2 years, 12 months ago

cable it , then consistently patrol it ! Having commuted a long time ago to kc for years K 10 is inhabited by a much faster driving bunch who are also a lot more aggressive drivers than the turnpike. kids or hurried commuters , it was not uncommon to be doing 70 - 75 and being tailgated by some a-hole.

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Bob Forer 2 years, 12 months ago

578 Injury accidents in ten years. Seems like way too many for what appears to be a relatively safe highway. Perhaps increased radar patrols by the Highway Patrol would help slow down traffic. Whenever I travel that route I keep it at 65-70 and am passed by many cars, some going in excess of 80. Folks seem to be in too much of a hurry these days.

Slow it down a bit. The life you save may be your own.

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igby 2 years, 12 months ago

Let the cables do the cutting!

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overplayedhistory 2 years, 12 months ago

Good getting Sam on that one, Koch bros are not paying for it, and this is not Darfur.

Other than the volume of traffic at times and two lanes during repairs, I just don't get How K-10 is so dangerous. Ever drive I25 in Colorado now that is dangerous. I have been driving K-10 for almost 20 years. What more could you want 4 lanes and a considerable amount of ground between. It seems to me it is a lot safer than old K-10.

You got to try to hit someone going the other way, or loose consciousness while driving 80, or hit a curve driving 125 miles an hour. In other words you have to be wicked careless stupid.

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pizzapete 2 years, 12 months ago

I think a barrier on K10 would be money well spent as it will most likely save many lives in the years to come.

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nut_case 2 years, 12 months ago

1) I don't want to pay the millions of dollars it would cost to install the cables

2) If I see a car crossing the median, I will simply turn out of the way.

Since I don't yap on the cell phone, drive drunk, etc - my attention is pretty well focused on what is going on around me. It's pretty simple to avoid another car.

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my3girls 2 years, 12 months ago

Do it not only for Cainen, but also for all the others that have also lost their lives & their grieving friends & family.

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walkthehawk 2 years, 12 months ago

I'm not sure why this needs to be an argument about personal responsibility, whether it's lacking in some drivers, and whether that lack is leading to crashes on K-10. How many crossover fatalities is it going to take before we realize that even if you, personally (or your spouse, your sister, your mom, your best friend ) are doing everything right, a crash of this sort can take your life in an instant?

People are DYING. On a particular stretch of a particular road, in a particular sort of crash. One that's largely preventable. Having principles doesn't require you to be blinded by them. By all means, urge greater responsibility on the part of all drivers. And exercise it yourself--we all should. But driving to work, church, shopping, or Deanna Rose should not be akin to playing Russian Roulette, and we have the brains and the resources to fix the problem at the policy level. Let's do it. Now. For Cainan.

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strongarmcrunch 2 years, 12 months ago

At what point in time are we going to ask our government to restrict our American freedoms to keep us safe? At what point will The People stop asking the government to protect them from all dangers of life?

Let's face it: Life is dangerous. No government can protect you from that. And there is no reason why they should.

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VoiceOfReason 2 years, 12 months ago

No one implied that ALL crashes could be stopped. But cable barriers are designed to reduce the risk of head-on crashes, because they are so much deadlier, as a rule. The odds of surviving if someone hit a barrier and swerved back into traffic are much higher than if that same car came across the median and hit you head-on.

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engagedecoy 2 years, 12 months ago

The K-10 Highway between Lawrence and Johnson County carries the trademark name AMERICA’S SMART CORRIDOR. Yet our governor and lawmakers carries the trademark name AMERICA'S DUMBEST POLITICIANS. Seriously, how can we still have these signs that say AMERICA’S SMART CORRIDOR when a good majority of the drivers that drive on it DRIVE UNSAFELY.

Cable Barriers are an obvious start to trying to prevent dumb drivers....

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sierraclub 2 years, 12 months ago

It would probably be easier to just not have cars on K-10 anymore. That is the only way to solve the car crash problem.

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kusp8 2 years, 12 months ago

“We’ve done speed limit studies there as well,” Qualls said. “Everyone knows there’s lots of traffic out there that does drive increased speeds, and law enforcement is out there trying to enforce that.”

I'm sorry, you said there were law enforcement trying to enforce that? I'll personally testify that is flat out not true. If LEOs were to effectively patrol this area they could easily increase the amount of tickets issued by 4 or 5 fold. Heck, even if extra officers were added for a week I'm sure they'd be able to make up the costs in the amount of tickets issued. Just my two cents...

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Bailey Perkins 2 years, 12 months ago

Do people not realize that even if it is installed, if someone manages to lose control and strike the barrier they have an increased chance of swerving back into traffic. How is that safe? Either way, K-10 is an accident waiting to happen.

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oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 12 months ago

I have said many times on this forum that K-10 is a deathtrap and been scoffed at. One's chances of dying on that road are greater than ever dying in a nursing home.

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