GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — There’s been an ongoing effort, by some, to remove specific guardrails from roads across the nation. One Tennessee man is speaking out about these rails that he says caused his daughter’s death back in 2016.
Stephen Eimers, a public safety advocate, says his daughter’s death was caused by the X-Lite guardrail, this rail is seen on North Carolina roadways today. He’s calling for every one of these rails to be taken off the roads.
“States all across this country have replaced ‘X-Lites’ and North Carolina has not,” said Eimers. “It started when my daughter was killed, I asked a few questions and pretty soon I learned that the product that had killed her had been implicated in other spearing deaths and these are really brutal deaths.”
His daughter Hannah was killed in a car crash in Tennessee back in 2016, to which he says her death was caused by the X-Lite rails. He notes, instead of the rails absorbing some of the crash as they’re meant to do, he explains that it impaled his daughter’s vehicle, leaving her dead.
“I lost my daughter. My daughter was extraordinarily talented, and she didn’t have to die.
The guardrails are manufactured by the Lindsay Corporation. 9OYS decided to investigate. The company states on their website, “In May 2017, the federal highway administration (FHWA) examined available end terminal performance data and found no reason to conclude that the devices reviewed – including the X-Lite – are unsafe.”
But Eimers says that answer isn’t good enough for him, and now he’s looking at North Carolina to follow the lead of other states when it comes to the removal of these rails. Remember what he said earlier?
“States all across this country have replaced X-Lites and North Carolina has not.”
That brings us here. What does the North Carolina Department of Transportation have planned for the X-Lite rails? Well, we asked!
We sent an email to the NCDOT for more insight, asking if they have plans to remove them. Representatives confirmed that they have stopped the use of X-Lite rails in projects moving forward, stating that as recently as 2017 there were between four and five thousand in the state.
“This is a safety device producing injuries similar to what you would see in war,” said Eimers.
When asked about that, NCDOT officials say, “In fact, crash data suggests that many of the older guardrail end units, including the ‘X-Lites’, are performing well.” When we requested to see that crash data, we did hear back but never received the statistics.
Eimers claims that the manufacturer also allegedly conducts their own safety testing of these rails, looking to the bipartisan infrastructure bill to help fix this.
“It would mitigate the threat of conflicts of interest and require third party verification of crash test results.”
Overall noting that he wants to see a change from states like North Carolina that are keeping these rails up, which multiple families have attributed to the deaths of their loved ones.
“Are we going to believe the California department of transportation? Are we going to believe the 50 spearing incidents? They speak for themselves,” said Eimers.
Department of Transportation offices in places like Tennessee, Virginia, California and dozens more have all not only banned future production with the rails but have also gone back and removed them from their roads. Eimers overall says that he does this for his daughter, who lost her life at 17 years old.
Eimers also claims that these X-Lite rails are allegedly banned in all 50 states. We could not verify this but a document obtained by Eimers states the company has stopped the production of the rails, stating “Lindsay will no longer be offering the X-Lite end terminal for sale effective December 31, 2019.”
For more on what the Lindsay Corporation has to say, you can click here.