Could More Effective Roadway Safety Strategies Prevent Head-On Collisions in Texas?
Friends and family gathered to mourn the death of a former Henderson County Deputy. The tragic accident occurred last Wednesday at 1.30 p.m. on Loop 7 in Athens. Kevin Hanes, 37, was driving his 2001 Ford Ranger east on the Texas highway when he for unknown reasons crossed the center line into oncoming westbound traffic. The truck ran head on into a 1999 Lincoln Continental, driven by 77 year-old Bobrow Gunnels of Kemp, TX.
Both drivers were transported to East Texas Medical Center where Mr. Hanes was pronounced dead and Mr. Gunnel was last reported as being in serious condition. The head-on auto accident remains under investigation.
Described as a “highly intelligent officer” and “loving father, son, husband”
Mr. Hanes worked for the Henderson County Sheriffs Office
for several years and was described by Sheriff Ray Nutt as a “highly
intelligent officer.” Sheriff Nutt included Mr. Hanes as a major in his
command staff. Mr. Hanes transferred from the HCSO to the Texas
Department of Corrections in 2010.
He recently retired from his 15-year law enforcement career to
practice cabinetry, a job he loved because the work gave him the
opportunity to work with his hands, according to his obituary in the Athens Daily Review.
The devoted father also couched his daughter in sports. He is
remembered as “a loving father, son, husband and he will be greatly
missed by all he knew and loved.”
Why Head-On Collisions Are Often Fatal
Head-on collisions are considered elastic. The Physics Classroom
explains that elastic means, “the momentum of all objects before the
collision equals the momentum of all objects after the collision. If
there are only two objects involved in the collision, then the momentum
change of the individual objects are equal in magnitude and opposite in
direction.” In laymen’s terms, the impact equals the force of both
vehicles, and thereby tends to result in more serious injuries than
other crash scenarios.
The Transportation Research Board of the National Academies
concluded in their Executive Summary of Head-On Collisions that 75
percent of head-on automobile accidents occur on undivided two-lane
roads, the type of road involved in last week’s fatal crash. The safety
organization suggests roadway strategies could more effectively keep
vehicles from crossing into oncoming traffic and reduce the likelihood
of a head-on collision, including:
- Putting rumble strips along the center line of two-lane roads
- Installing profiled thermoplastic strips along the center line
- Creating wider cross section on two-lane roads
- Building center two-way left turn lanes to prevent unexpected stopped traffic
- Include a narrow buffer median on two-lane roads
We cannot know whether implementing these simple strategies could have
prevented the tragic head-on collision last week. However, these
precautionary measures could protect drivers in the future from head-on
Let Berenson Law Firm Help You Recover After a Head-On Collision
Berenson Law Firm handles challenging personal injury claims
involving head-on collisions. Call me at 888-801-8585 toll-free or at
817-885-8000 from within the Dallas-Fort Worth area to schedule a free