Tennessee Lawmakers Pass Resolution Calling for National Recall of Controversial Guardrail - NBC4 Washington
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Tennessee Lawmakers Pass Resolution Calling for National Recall of Controversial Guardrail

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    Tennessee Lawmakers Pass Resolution Calling for National Recall of Controversial Guardrail
    Steve Eimers, Sandra Johnson-Carter and Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally

    Tennessee lawmakers have passed a resolution calling on the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to order a national recall of a controversial guardrail.

    It now heads to the governor’s desk for his signature.

    A Maryland mother traveled to Nashville earlier this month to testify in support of the resolution, HJR1001.

    Sandra Johnson-Carter’s 18-year-old son, Michael Carter Jr., died in February after crashing into an X-LITE end terminal on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Carter was just starting his career in the Marines and died in uniform.

    It’s unclear what caused Carter to run off the road. Maryland State Police and the State Highway Administration are still investigating Carter's crash, and have not determined whether the X-LITE was at fault. Photos from the accident scene show the guardrail was ripped off.

    Johnson-Carter testified alongside Steve Eimers, whose 17-year-old daughter, Hannah, was killed after crashing into an X-LITE in Tennessee in 2016.

    At least eight people have died after crashing into X-LITE guardrail end pieces.

    Five lawsuits have been filed against the manufacturer, Lindsay Transportation Solutions, claiming the X-LITE is defective — in some cases spearing vehicles instead of deflecting them.

    "Our research, and repeated calls for information from the states, do not support claims that this specific type of guardrail performs differently than others," a statement from the Federal Highway Administration read.

    Lindsay sent News4 the following statement regarding the resolution passed by Tennessee lawmakers.

    "Lindsay Transportation Solutions disagrees with the actions taken by the Tennessee General Assembly in relation to passage of HJR 1001," the statement read.

    It continued: "Tennessee legislators have used their position to mount a misleading and irresponsible campaign against a road safety product that reduces the number and severity of injuries sustained in automobile accidents. Throughout, they have avoided consulting performance data or road safety experts. Sound legislation should be based on facts and due diligence. Their actions are based on neither."

    The X-LITE is no longer being installed as states move to products that meet updated crash-test standards, but thousands of the guardrail end pieces are already in place across the country.

    At least 10 states including Virginia are currently replacing X-LITES — some due to safety concerns and others as part of an effort to update all roadside barriers to products that meet new crash-test standards.

    Johnson-Carter wrote a letter to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan asking him to have all X-LITEs removed from state roads. Hogan told News4 this month that any further action to be taken about the controversial guardrail is being researched by the Maryland Department of Transportation.

    Here's Lindsay Transportation Solutions' full comments to News4 on the Tennesee law:

    "Lindsay Transportation Solutions disagrees with the actions taken by the Tennessee General Assembly in relation to passage of HJR 1001.

    "Tennessee legislators have used their position to mount a misleading and irresponsible campaign against a road safety product that reduces the number and severity of injuries sustained in automobile accidents. Throughout, they have avoided consulting performance data or road safety experts. Sound legislation should be based on facts and due diligence. Their actions are based on neither.

    "States’ data on the serious and fatal accident rate, as reported by FHWA, indicates the X-LITE performs as well as or better than similar products on the market. Further, FHWA determined in May 2017 that the data did 'not lead to any conclusion that…the Lindsay X-LITE [was] unsafe.' Updated data as of March 2018, which is publicly available on the FHWA’s website, continues to support this conclusion.

    "Importantly, the X-Lite has reduced the number and severity of injuries sustained in automobile accidents. At the same time, there is no road safety equipment that can prevent injury every time a driver fails to stay on the road. Unfortunately, Tennessee officials are targeting the X-Lite and falsely characterizing its effectiveness simply because it, as with all other road safety products, cannot address every variable in the field. Lindsay Transportation Solutions and our employees are proud of creating road safety products that reduce risks for drivers.

    "These are facts that we would have shared with Tennessee legislators directly, but we were not given the opportunity. It is our hope that Governor Haslam will recognize the flawed process that resulted in HJR 1001 and veto this resolution."

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