Archive for Monday, August 22, 2011

Committee wants Kansas Highway 10 to be a safety corridor

Evening rush hour traffic on Kansas Highway 10 on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011.

Evening rush hour traffic on Kansas Highway 10 on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011.

August 22, 2011


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Members of a Kansas Highway 10 safety committee had a long list of concerns last week when they proposed a plan to increase fines and enforcement on the commuter highway east of Lawrence.

They wanted a crackdown on speeding after Kansas Department of Transportation officials showed them statistics that 15 percent of drivers were traveling faster than 77 mph within the 70 mph speed limit. Also, they worried about the number of drivers sending text messages as they barrel down the four-lane highway frequently taking their eyes off the road to look at their phones.

As the first recommendation from the group, formed to study whether the state should put cable median barriers on K-10 between Lawrence and Lenexa, it will ask the Legislature to designate the stretch of K-10 as a highway safety corridor, a tactic that some states have been using for several years.

Members of a K-10 safety committee last week proposed a plan to increase fines and enforcement on the busy commuter highway east of Lawrence.

The committee of Douglas County and Johnson County officials and residents was formed at the urging of Gov. Sam Brownback in the wake of the April 16 cross-median crash near Eudora that killed two of the city’s residents, including 5-year-old Cainan Shutt.

Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, said at last week’s meeting he intended to begin working on legislation and seek bipartisan support before proposing it in January. Supporters of designating K-10 as a safety corridor do have several examples from other states they can look to in deciding how far they want things to go.

Highway safety officials in other states urged Kansas to focus on getting input from the community and law enforcement agencies before setting up a highway safety corridor that could include more signs warning drivers, extra traffic patrols and increased fines.

“The advice would be to let the community lead it as long as data is their guiding light,” said Angie Ward, a program manager for the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, which has used safety corridors since the 1990s, although it’s not legal in the state to increase fines in the corridors.

State transportation officials in Washington, New Mexico and Virginia said highway safety corridors have helped reduce crashes along problematic stretches.

In New Mexico, department of transportation spokeswoman Megan Arredondo said the state saw 275 fewer crashes, or a 28 percent reduction, from 2001 to 2008 in its 12 safety corridors for areas that have a high number of injuries and deaths. Law enforcement has the authority to double fines on drivers who speed in the areas.

“In any safety corridor program, the key to success is high visibility enforcement,” Arredondo said.

New Mexico also installs signs that designate each corridor and posts lower speed limits.

In Virginia, the program has seen mixed results. Transportation officials said one major key is the ability for a state to direct funds for overtime to law enforcement to help with extra patrols.

Stephen Read, the highway safety improvement program manager for the Virginia Department of Transportation, said the state has seen a reduction in crashes in a more rural area on Interstate 81 compared to two other more urbanized stretches near the Washington, D.C., suburbs and Richmond area. He said in rural areas there’s less traffic and more room for law enforcement officers to target more dangerous drivers compared to heavily congested areas.

“I definitely think if you can keep that in the public eye, that you’ll see some effect,” Read said.

He said the corridor along I-81 has seen an 11 percent reduction in crashes when compared to similar locations. In the Richmond area it was about a 3 percent reduction, and the one in northern Virginia was about even.

But when he heard a description of K-10 between Lawrence and the suburban Kansas City area, Read said he thought it could be a good candidate to become a safety corridor.

In Washington, however, Ward, the traffic safety commission’s program manager, said her state likely wouldn’t designate K-10 and would probably look more to engineering solutions. But she said the key to using the corridors in her state center on increased enforcement and trying to generate an awareness, largely through the media, about safe driving habits.

“The biggest part in making this road safe,” Ward said, “is how you drive on it.”


coryweber 6 years, 9 months ago

Fill the median w/ sand. Cheap, easy & effective.

sad_lawrencian 6 years, 9 months ago

Maybe I'm ignorant, but how exactly does changing a highway to a "safety corridor" change anything about the highway? How does it make it more safe?

Alceste 6 years, 9 months ago

Excellent idea. Cut the speed limit back to 65 and plaster the place with John Law, making certain John Law has many, many "extra" ticket books in the cruiser.

A select group have demonstrated that the 70mph can't be respected or even "stretched" properly. Perhaps "commuters" will start leaving for work in a timely fashion.

Maybe the select group will band together and build their own private deluxe motor speedway and play Parnelli Jones on it. Good Riddance.

nut_case 6 years, 9 months ago

So 10,000 cars a day use the road safely and once a month some yahoo runs off the road, so your solution is to penalize those 300,000 travelers in hopes the 1 yahoo will be more attentive? Simply brilliant.

Jstanobservation 6 years, 9 months ago

No drivers observing the law will be penalized.

nut_case 6 years, 9 months ago

I think majority people attentively observing the current speed limit would disagree if it were cut back to 65.

If I'm safely / lawfully driving 70/75 and am forced to cut back to 65 because some bozo can't put down the cell phone or bottle of booze, that seems like a penalty to me.

Ewok79 6 years, 9 months ago

Hey when I grow up can I be a grumpy, cocky, miserable, old b@$tard, that is perfect law abiding citizen such as your self. Get off your soap box Alceste, and go preach your perfect self to somebody who gives a d@mm!!

KS 6 years, 9 months ago

Highway 10 between Lawrence and Johnson County has had safety issues for a very long time, even before the new highway. Maybe a lot of immature drivers? Folks don't read the Kansas rule book and do not pay any attention. Left lane driving is horrible. People get into the left lane and appear to fall asleep. I think the last time they "may" have looked into their rear view mirror is when they backed out of their driveway. When entering a Interstate road (Highway 10 is built on those standards), it seems that the rule is to just gun it and push any and everything in the way over to the left lane. There is no yeilding, and the law requires it even if there is no sign. It is my understanding that when one now renews their license, there is no written test. I guess the state figures folks just cheat on that part. I sort of like the 75 mph limit, but I also believe this is one area where 70 is enough. Too many goofy drivers. The State should do whatever they can to improve it and make is as safe as possible.

KS 6 years, 9 months ago

Sometimes that is not always possible. Don't tell me to just slow down and let that semi behind me hit me in the rear. Courteous driving works both ways. If they signal, I will move over. If not, let them yeild.

Alceste 6 years, 9 months ago

....and ain't it a shame that people aren't allowing for one car length per 10mph distance between cars/trucks on that road? Going 70mph means there are SEVEN car lengths of space between me and the next vehicle. NEVER happens on K-10. NEVER.

KS 6 years, 9 months ago

You have totally missed the point. It is not an issue of navigating, but the bully approach of the driver entering the highway. They have the obligation to yield. I do not intend to move over in front of a semi. What you say about making a complete stop applies to those entering, not to those already on the road. Where did you take your driver education, Wal-Mart?

gphawk89 6 years, 9 months ago

Shouldn't that read, "the jerks illegally driving in the left lane"?

gphawk89 6 years, 9 months ago

I don't consider speeding legal, but I don't consider it being a jerk either. Being in my opinion labeled a "jerk" means you're intentionally doing something to inconvenience or bother other drivers, and I don't think speeders are trying to do that. However, the self-righteous folks that camp in the passing lane to intentionally slow traffic because they think they have some duty to enforce the law - those are jerks.

Orwell 6 years, 9 months ago

Don't expect any state money for highway safety. Sam will tell us we can increase local taxes for it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

Those are all very major contributors to accidents, but every one of them is greatly amplified by speed. And speed is the only one that is easily measured by an external device-- the radar gun.

nut_case 6 years, 9 months ago

It won't, but the state would never miss an opportunity to boost income. Plus, it makes for great press because 'Somebody is doing something'

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

Pardon me for stating the obvious, but if the goal is "safety," then lower the speed limit to 45 mph, and enforce it.

Otherwise, just accept that as a society we value scratching the itch of our impatience over safety, and the carnage on the roads that comes with it

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

I fully understand why people want to drive 75 mph. I sometimes do it myself. And people use cell phones for pretty much the same reason we like to barrel down the highway. As a society, we value instant gratification over almost anything else.

That comes with a cost, and on the highways that means accidents. Lots of them, and some of us pay the ultimate price.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, because there are no fatal accidents on 45mph roads.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

Of course there are.

But what's your point? Are you seriously trying to tell me that, all other things being equal, the fatality rate wouldn't drop (significantly) if the speed limit were 45 mph?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

Bottom-line: We love speed, but speed kills.

(Actually, it's the sudden to immediate deceleration that kills.)

Paul R Getto 6 years, 9 months ago

Speed is a serious issue, but so is tailgating. I rarely drive K-10, but when I do it seems most of the people out there flunked high school physics. When one is less than 100 feet behind another vehicle at 70+ mph, there is nothing to do when something happens in front of you except hope your air bags work and that your seatbelt tightens up just before you crash.

KS 6 years, 9 months ago

Stay out of the left lane and you won't be tailgated. Try driving in the left lane on the turnpike. You will be run over by semis.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

It's the trailing car that's responsible for tailgating, not the leading car.

But reading between the lines, it appears that you express your road rage frequently by doing lots of tailgating.

As Paul points out, perhaps you need to review the laws of physics (and common courtesy.)

MarcoPogo 6 years, 9 months ago

"Stay out of the left lane and you won't be tailgated."

Is that a joke? It certainly made me laugh.

Thats_messed_up 6 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence drivers need stop lights to turn right onto busy streets why would they understand the concept that the left lane is for passing only?

hipper_than_hip 6 years, 9 months ago

If you get in the left lane to pass, use your gas pedal! If someone is coming up behind you, press on the pedal (it's the one on the right that makes you go faster), pass whoever you were passing, then get in the right lane. If you're on a two lane and come up behind someone, you don't pass them doing 1mph faster; you step on the gas and get around them. The same thinking applies to a four lane: get on the gas if you're going to pass!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

To an extent, I agree with you. But If I'm going 70 (the speed limit on K-10) passing someone going 60, and someone going 80 blasts up behind me, I feel no obligation to step on it just because the idiot behind me (exceeding the legal speed limit) is a little impatient.

Passing on a two-lane road is a very different scenario. You should accelerate to get out of the oncoming lane as quickly as possible, but not because you've decided to pass when there is oncoming traffic, or in an area no appropriate for passing. Tailgating the car in front of you till traffic clears is still dangerous and idiotic.

gatekeeper 6 years, 9 months ago

Most of what I see on K-10 is the guy in the left lane is going 71 to pass someone going 70 and holds up traffic for a long time. If they were passing someone going 10 mph slower than them, they'd pass quickly.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

True, that does happen. Nevertheless, anyone choosing to drive over the speed limit needs to accept that occasionally, they may have to slow down for those traveling at or below the posted speed limit.

bklonnie 6 years, 9 months ago

Those traveling at or below the posted speed limit need to stay out of the left lane. Your example doesn't really make a lot of sense, because if you are going 70 MPH and passing someone going 60 MPH, you're going to pass them quite quickly. You won't be in the left lane long at all.

Like what gatekeeper said, I see a lot of people just driving about 70, and staying in the left lane when they can easily get over.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

OK, so let's call it driving 70 passing someone 66.

70 is the maximum speed limit. On a four-lane highway, there is no need to accelerate in order to pass. Therefore, there is no reason, legal or otherwise, to exceed the legal speed limit, including the impatience of a trailing driver over being temporality delayed in exceeding the legal speed limit.

Chris Phillips 6 years, 9 months ago

They will never be able to call the K10 Speedway a "Safety Corridor" until they can enforce the existing speed limit, let alone reduce it, and get the Mario Andretti's (Jeff Gordon's if you need a more current reference) to slow down. In order to get rid of the drinking and driving, we would have to set up checkpoints on every entry point to K10 to keep the drunks off of it, and then set up interference towers to block all cell phone signals for the attention impaired.

Not a likely scenario, but that's where we are headed if you want to control behavior.

jimurich 6 years, 9 months ago

Time of travel is almost a non-issue. The difference between driving 70 mph and 60 mph between Lawrence and Lenexa on K-10 is only 2 minutes. It will also improve your gas mileage by 10%.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 9 months ago

If we were all driving 15MPH golf carts, this wouldn't be a problem.

nut_case 6 years, 9 months ago

There are plenty of golf cart crashes on youtube. So that leads me to believe K10 full of golf carts would still have plenty of crashes....and likely plenty of people complaining about how they are going too fast and need to slow down.

bklonnie 6 years, 9 months ago

Maybe I missed it in the article, but where was the correlation between speed and the accidents that have happened on K-10? Yes, obviously speeding can lead to accidents. However, from what I've seen in the news about the accidents on that highway in the last couple of years, they have not been caused by speeding.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

But speed increases the severity of accidents. A head-on collision at 45 mph is much less likely, and the amount of energy involved is several orders of magnitude less than a head-on collision at 75 mph.

bklonnie 6 years, 9 months ago

You're absolutely right. However, I don't agree with reducing the highway speeds to 45 MPH, and I doubt many others agree with that either.

bklonnie 6 years, 9 months ago

Wait, I just re-read your statement. I don't agree with "A head-on collision at 45 mph is much less likely".


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

Of course it is. People's reaction time is the same no matter the speed, but at 45, those reaction times are much more likely to be adequate to avoid an accident than at 75.

Simple laws of physics and physiology.

bklonnie 6 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, it's just so simple. :-/

Maybe you should be on the committee, since you know so much about the subject.

Maybe you should do a little research on the accidents that have occurred on K-10, and then get back to me. 15 MPH or 75 MPH wouldn't have changed how likely those accidents were, which is what we're discussing.

Alexander Smith 6 years, 9 months ago

Vote this person for president. hit it on the head. Americans want everything, cheaper, but don't want to have to commit anything for it. Last time I checked the USA is about "we the people" not what it is today of "I" the people of the United States.

blindrabbit 6 years, 9 months ago

Label it a "Demolition Derby Zone" Clearly K-10 is populated by "urban style" drivers who have no business attempting to operate a deadly weapon.

Getaroom 6 years, 9 months ago

In response to Snappy Poppy: If we were all not here, we would not be here.

I response to the issue: It has been the understanding statewide that due to budget woes, fewer offices are patrolling highways no matter what the issues are for those particular roads/highways. I appears that humans need protection from one another as much as anything since there were civilizations and communities of humans. If one does not think speed kills look at NASCAR. Millions of dollars in resources every year are spent on making those cars and equipment more survivable for the drivers and fans outside the cars. Any safety barrier is going to cost communal dollars, not a corporation like NASCAR, but then I guess if you are Romney you believe that corporations are individuals, but I digress. It is all about people protecting people from other people isn't it? Has it ever been any different? What does it take to do that? If you can't prevent a driver from drinking and driving, taking drugs, driving badly generally, as in; too fast, carelessly, while texting, eating a burger and fries, or any other distractions of your own choosing, then how do we protect ourselves from one another. Slower speed limits, enforced speed limits, higher fines, guardrails, cables, concrete barriers, bumper cars, golf carts only.
It seems over the years the answer has been all of the above. We have all been paying for a very long time to protect ourselves from one another and ourselves. How about something protective down the middle of the median. It all costs money, it eventually comes out of everyones pocket and that is true if you are a Natzi sympathizer, priest, grocery store clerk, Obama hater or lover, Sarah Palin hater or lover and etc.. Time tells us that on our highways speed kills, bad driving kills in all it's forms, weather conditions can kill. If you do not want to pay for the common issues of society, then leave society and don't use any of the resources of this country, which basically means, don't breathe. Pay up or shut up.

madcow 6 years, 9 months ago

Excessive speeding is a problem, but your average guy doing 10 over isn't the one causing accidents.

It is the idiots texting/calling/eating/herpderping that cause accidents. Crack down on those people.

rumor_man 6 years, 9 months ago

I only drive on the shoulder. No speed limit there that I know of.

classclown 6 years, 9 months ago

Turn the median into a minefield. That should stop most crossovers. Or just dig it out. Make it a trench about 10 feet deep.

To cut down on speeding simply add traffic calming circles and speed humps.

classclown 6 years, 9 months ago

Make the highway like the old fashioned car washes. As you drive onto the highway you guide your tire between rails and then place your car in neutral and allow the track to pull you down the highway.

Then you can eat, read, yak on the phone, text, sext, etc. all you want.

jayhawklawrence 6 years, 9 months ago

If one of the problems identified is speeding, how does lowering the speed limit help.

Raising fines would seem to be taking advantage of the situation. Fines are already very high.

I rarely saw law enforcement on this road until after it became a political issue.

Enforcement and better signage warning drivers. Those are the keys. Education and enforcement.

Why is that so hard to understand?

kawman_sense 6 years, 9 months ago

We should all be celebrating!

An estimated 32,788 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2010, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That represents a 25 percent decline since 2005 - NYTimes - 4/1/2011

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

Yea, I bet the families of those 32,788 are really whooping it up.

tolawdjk 6 years, 9 months ago

I looked at the caption under the photo and had to laugh.

Thousands of miles of road across the country and that photo qualifies as "rush hour".

Not only rush hour, but apparently problematic rush hour. Rush hour that can kill.

Speed isn't the problem. Cell phones aren't the problem.

Morons are the problem and you can't legislate common sense. You can try. You can certainly put rules, regulations, laws, suggestions, begging, pleading, and outright coercion out there to try to fix a problem. But as sure as the sun rises in the east, stupid will prevail.

And there is a lot of stupid on K-10. Infact, I would go so far as to say 1 in 4 on K-10 suffers from it.

In fact, look at that same photo, on the right set of lanes. On the far hill you will see three cars. You might have to squint, cause one is tailgating so damn close as to be actually in the trunk of the one in front of it. While I'm not a medical man, I can tell you that driver suffers from stupidity. Absolutely nothing would be hurt if he put a couple more car lengths between him and the car in front. He's going to be late or on time regardless.

But nope, has to sniff tailpipe.

jesse499 6 years, 9 months ago

Just goes on and on its the highways fault are the texting are reading papers are books are talking on the phone boils down to the same thing Idiots out there not paying attention and speeding and still not getting there any faster then they would driving the speed limit.I don't know how many times someone has blown passed me out there and other places and when i get to the other end of my trip they are just in front or sometimes beside or even in back of me they didn't get there any faster then I did driving the speed limit.

JerryStubbs 6 years, 9 months ago

Hopefully the traffic commission will carefully examine all of the accidents that have occurred on this highway and base their solution on preventing those particular circumstances ( if possible) rather than just following ideas from other states.

Several of these accidents have been people that somehow used the incorrect ramp to get on the highway. Several of them have been very late at night or early morning and there probably have been wrecks with alcohol or drugs involved.

I haven't noticed any massive multi-car pileups like they have in California sometimes, so I don't know if one can really call tailgating the problem. Except for those early morning snow/ice storms we had last winter, I don't think these accidents are from cars travelling at such a high rate of speed that they run off the road .They seem to be more likely somehow not focused for some reason.

I don't know how to get these people that are distracted to change, and I don't think that patrols will necessarily catch them being distracted, at least in time to save them.

Terry Sexton 6 years, 9 months ago

I drove through a safety corridor in New Mexico along I-10. I didn't know what the heck it was all about, but it was very well marked & one definitely got the impression that breaking the speed limit was a very bad idea. Lotsa southwest smokies interested in those corridor miles.
Seems reasonable. Pick the bad areas & say 'this is where we're concentrating. You mess up thru here, it'll cost ya.'

Alceste 6 years, 9 months ago

Perhaps the Douglas County Commission and the Lawrence City Commission could purchase K-10 (or at least lease it); then we'd own it and do as we will with it. Sorta like paying for the SRS lease.....know what I mean Vern?

After we own/lease/control the road, we can give preferential treatment to DG plated cars and such.....maybe a special speed limit for us as well.

Yeah.....the above idea is a good idea.

hammerhawk 6 years, 9 months ago

It's easy. Put more cops out there. And the signs as suggested above. I saw thevsigns too, and they do make an impression.

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