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Construction worker injuries, deaths averted in I-90 truck crash

The construction zone crash resulted in one injury and a fire, but everyone on the scene on Interstate 90 near West Salem agreed that things could have been much worse if not for a safety device attached to the construction crew's equipment.

Early this week, a truck accident took place when a tractor-trailer slammed into the back end of a La Crosse County traffic sign truck parked on the side of the highway next to the westbound lanes. The sign truck was equipped with a trailer attenuator, however; a device that absorbs energy in a crash and diverts the hurtling vehicle away from workers on a roadside job.

"It could have been much worse," said La Crosse County Highway Commissioner Ron Chamberlain. He said without the attenuator, the big rig would have likely barreled through the construction site and several workers. Obviously, when a truck that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds strikes a person, serious injuries are likely and death is possible.

None of that happened, thanks to the presence of the safety device that acts as both a shock absorber and a moving-vehicle deflector.

The 35-year-old Beloit driver of the semi-truck suffered unspecified injuries that were not life-threatening.

A Wisconsin state trooper interviewed by WXOW-TV said he was grateful no construction workers were hurt in the truck accident, but he stressed how important it is for people to be informed of where the zones are and prepared to go through the construction zones at safe, slow speeds.

Source: WXOW: "Safety device saves lives in I-90 crash": May 24, 2011

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