Wire rope barrier penetration

A vehicle crashed into the median light tower on an urban freeway in Australia.  Here is the story.

I looked at the scene shortly afterwards.  Tyre marks lead to an offset frontal crash with the tower footing and then presumably owing to the offset impact the car spun back onto the carriageway.

The tower is supposedly protected by wire rope barriers.  The barrier did not physically fail.  At least not totally.  Perhaps one wire failed.  Most remain intact.  As these photos show the vehicle track that concludes at the tower base does not deviate.

The barrier seems to have caused no deviation.  Further, by and large, it remains intact.  Thus the vehicle perhaps penetrated between the ropes or plunged under all the ropes.  Either way, the barrier does not seem to have performed its function.

Vehicle track to pole contact shows little deviation:RIMG0141


Most of the ropes and perhaps all remain intact:RIMG0142

About John Culvenor

Hi, Thank you for taking a look at this blog. I work in engineering, ergonomics, creativity, design, training, etc. Often this is about helping solve legal puzzles through accident analysis. Sometimes it is about thinking up better designs for equipment, workplaces, and systems. This blog is about good design and bad design, accident analysis and how it can be done better, and how we can make a better, safer world by design!
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2 Responses to Wire rope barrier penetration

  1. DAvid Round says:

    It is surprising that an Engineer would make such bias comments without first knowing all the facts.
    The barrier in situ was tested and proven to work under certain conditions.
    without knowing the exact system I would assume those conditions to be 100Km/h impact at 25 degrees by a 2000Kg vehicle.
    As stated in a previous post, the approval process in Australia is the hardest in the world, suggesting that all aspects of the barrier in question were closely reviewed and assessed.
    it is also important to note that you can not test for every possibility, nor can you stop and test for drivers that do not act reasonably on the road network.
    John states the story doesn’t say if the driver was speeding however police were quoted in the story as saying ” Stationary police observed the man doing high speeds before the crash.”, which suggests that the driver was doing excessive speed. the story also states that the driver survived, the driver suffered a fractured leg .
    John, you either survive or you don’t.
    Wire Rope systems are used across the world and have proven to reduce fatalities on road networks.
    I invite you to read NCHRP711 a report authored by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, where reductions in fatalities and serious injuries were as a direct result of these Wire Rope systems being installed.
    To take a story such as this and bend it to suit your own view without knowing the complete facts surrounding the incident especially on a forum such as this, is irresponsible at best.

  2. I don’t have an axe to grind here one way or another. It’s an observation of an event. What comments do I make that are biased?

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