An Arizona man who lost his wife and sister in a cross-median crash on Interstate 10 continues to push for the installation of cable barriers and is now publicly calling on multiple state leaders to take action.
During public comment at Tuesday’s state transportation board meeting, Mike Humphrey asked board members to place the topic of cable barriers on the agenda of the board’s next meeting.
He also dropped off letters stating his concerns at the Governor’s Office and Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.
“The state transportation board must address this critical highway safety issue,” Humphrey said. “This will save the lives of many Arizona residents and visitors.”
There are almost no median barriers on Interstate 10 between Phoenix and Tucson.
Humphrey’s comments come the week after an ABC15 Operation Safe Roads investigation highlighted his family’s deaths and revealed that nearly 150 cross-median crashes have occurred on a pair of 20-mile stretches since 2001.
Those crashes have led to at least 150 injuries and 46 deaths.
Humphrey's wife and sister died in a crash in May 2008.
Since then, he’s been locked in a contentious lawsuit with the state that is tied up on appeal after a jury issued a $40 million verdict against Arizona.
The jury believed the Arizona Department of Transportation should have had cables along the stretch of I-10 based on the highway’s crash history.
But despite the verdict, ADOT believes installing cable barriers on Interstate 10 and other Arizona highways will cause more harm than good.
Steven Boschen, an ADOT assistant director, said that cross-median crashes are rare and unpredictable, accounting for about one percent of fatalities.
He also said the interstate’s 80-foot dirt medians are the safest option out there.
“By putting up cable barriers we would be causing more harm than good,” Boschen said. “If we put a barrier out there, we are just introducing more harm. A barrier is actually a hazard and there would be more crashes.”
Humphrey pushed back on ADOT’s median width claim at Tuesday’s meeting, citing information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that says it takes a car traveling 70 mph about 387 feet to stop.
Cable median barriers are high-tension wires strung along a series of posts.
Studies show they are highly effective at preventing crossover incidents and have significantly decreased fatalities in other states.
Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at firstname.lastname@example.org.