Guardrail Blamed for Fatal Crashes Still on Roads in Maryland, Virginia - NBC4 Washington
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Guardrail Blamed for Fatal Crashes Still on Roads in Maryland, Virginia

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Guardrail Blamed for Fatal Crashes Still on Roads in DMV

    A Tennessee man recently took his fight against a controversial guardrail to the halls of Capitol Hill. Consumer Reporter Susan Hogan reports. (Published Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017)

    A guardrail that can be found on roads in Maryland and Virginia has been blamed for at least six deaths in the country.

    Steve Eimers made it his mission to get the guardrail recalled after his 17-year-old daughter died in a horrific crash last year. He said he wants to prevent another tragedy.

    “I’m fighting so no other family has to be here,” he said.

    The last time he saw Hannah, she was heading to a Halloween party.

    “I think I told her to have a good time, and that I loved her,” Eimers said.

    Working with costumes was Hannah's passion. She was in her second year of college and had worked on a movie set near her home in Tennessee.

    “Hannah was our oldest child,” Eimers said. “She was one of 10 and she’s extraordinarily talented, graduated at 15.”

    As she was driving home from the Halloween Party, she hit a guardrail.

    “A guardrail pierced her car, and she was killed instantly,” Eimers said.

    He is suing the manufacturer of that guardrail end terminal -- the third lawsuit claiming the Lindsay X-LITE guardrail pierced vehicles during crashes in Tennessee, killing people inside.

    The Tennessee Department of Transportation is so concerned, it's spending millions of dollars to remove X-LITES from its roads.

    A News4 Consumer Investigation found thousands of those controversial guardrails are all over Virginia and Maryland.

    Sarah Weinberg of Alexandria, Virginia, died last December after she hit a guardrail on Interstate 66 in Fauquier County.

    "The first section came up over the hood of the vehicle, so the second section came through the front of the car, through the grille work, and then blew open the driver's door and then the car continued down the rail as though it was threading a needle," said Tom Curcio, attorney for Weinberg’s family.

    Just three months earlier, Virginia had pulled the X-LITE from its approved products list "due to concerns with crash test results." While that means no new X-LITES will be installed, Virginia estimates there are still about 1,000 of the guardrails currently in place.

    Maryland said it has 990, and West Virginia said it has 938. D.C. does not use X-LITES.

    Eimers said this issue has consumed his life since his daughter died. He spends much of his time researching accidents and meeting with transportation officials.

    His ultimate goal is to have all 14,000 X-LITES removed from the nation's roads.

    “I want a national recall,” he said. “I wanted the letter of approval rescinded and I want a national recall of the X-LITE."

    In a statement to News4, Lindsay Transportation Solutions said, “Lindsay Transportation Solutions’ top priority is to provide solutions that reduce the number and severity of injuries sustained in automobile accidents.

    “X-LITE has successfully passed crash and safety tests in accordance with Federal standards and criteria, and remains eligible for Federal transportation funding. There is no road safety equipment that can prevent injury every time a driver fails to stay on the road, but X-Lite has reduced the number and severity of injuries sustained in automobile accidents. A variety of factors contribute to the potential for injury when a driver fails to stay on the road, including speed, the angle at which a vehicle makes impact, and whether road safety equipment is installed and maintained properly.

    “We encourage you to visit https://xlitefacts.com/about/ to learn more about X-LITE. Thank you.”

    Reported by Susan Hogan, produced by Meredith Royster and edited by Perkins Broussard.