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Congressman saved by median barrier in Tennessee after roadway departure crash
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Congressman saved by median barrier in Tennessee after roadway departure crash

There are many data points about how guardrail and median barrier save lives on our roadways. Studies show that median and roadside guardrails have been proven as highly effective countermeasures to roadway departure (RwD) crashes.

There are also countless stories from people whose lives have been saved by a median cable barrier or roadside guardrail like Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr., whose life was positively impacted by the lifesaving presence of a median barrier during a serious crash in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Oct. 23, 2009.

Duncan had just returned home to Knoxville, Tennessee from Washington, D.C., on a clear October mid-afternoon. Driving in moderately heavy traffic in the left lane of the Pellissippi Parkway (I-140) the congressman glanced down to adjust his radio. In the moment he took his eyes off the road, a pick-up truck directly in front of him nearly came to a full stop.

In an attempt to avoid a collision, Duncan jerked his wheel. He lost control of his vehicle and went across traffic from the left lane into the emergency lane. His car spun back across the northbound travel lanes, slamming into a concrete median and bouncing back out into traffic, again crossing all three northbound travel lanes. The congressman’s vehicle finally came to a stop in the emergency lane on the right shoulder.

“I still can’t believe that I wasn’t hit or that I didn’t hit somebody else in all that heavy traffic. It is just miraculous,” Duncan said.

The median barrier kept Congressman Duncan’s car from spinning into the oncoming lanes of traffic - preventing a crossover head-on collision.

Duncan’s story is one of many of those who were saved on our nation’s roadways, thanks to guardrail and median barrier. For more information and to read more stories like Duncan’s, visit, and like, comment, and share your own stories using the hashtag #GuardrailsSaveLives.

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