Guardrails are designed to keep motorists safe, but what if a certain brand of them could end up actually harming you?
Our attorneys are investigating claims that Lindsay Transportation Systems’ X-LITE guardrail end treatment may be unreasonably dangerous and defective after the guardrails were implicated in seven deaths since 2016.
Instead of mitigating the impact of a crash as the guardrail was designed to do, the X-LITE guardrail end treatments are reportedly impaling vehicles during crashes, seriously injuring and even killing the occupants of the vehicle in the process.
The problem with X-LITE guardrails has become so serious that some states have pledged millions of dollars to remove and replace all X-LITE guardrails installed on their roadways.
If you or someone you love was hurt or killed by X-LITE guardrails, you may be able to join a class action lawsuit to hold the creators and manufacturers of the X-LITE guardrails — Lindsay Corporation, Valmont Industries, and their subsidiaries — accountable for their reportedly defective product. To learn more about participating, contact us today.
What Are X-LITE Guardrail End Treatments?
X-LITE guardrail end treatments are designed to protect motorists in the event of an off-road collision.
The guardrails are made up of multiple metal pieces that are intended to slide into each other — or “telescope” — when hit by a car, absorbing some of the impact of the crash and, most importantly, preventing the metal of the guardrail from penetrating the vehicle and harming the occupants.
The Alleged Problems with X-LITE Guardrails
Although the X-LITE guardrails are designed to help protect lives in the event of an accident, some allege that when cars make impact with the X-LITE guardrails, the metal pieces fail to “telescope,” resulting in those pieces impaling the vehicle and passengers inside of it.
Officials from the Tennessee Department of Transportation found that the X-LITE guardrails don’t always work as designed when hit at speeds higher than 62.2 mph, the standard crash test speed for guardrail ends, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.
However, the guardrails have been implicated in fatal accidents both when malfunctioning and when “telescoping” as designed. This suggests that the guardrail may be dangerous by design and should no longer be manufactured.
As a result, the families of the people allegedly killed by X-LITE guardrails believe that X-LITE guardrails are improperly designed, unsafe, and unreasonably dangerous for our country’s roadways. Their governmental authorities seem to agree.
TDOT Finds X-LITE Installation Instructions “Unclear”
Additionally, some allege that the X-LITE guardrails are being improperly installed along roads due to the manufacturer's instructions, adding to the likelihood of these reportedly defective guardrails malfunctioning, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Upon investigating the installation instructions for the X-LITE systems, TDOT discovered the instructions were “unclear” about important aspects of installation such as bolt torque specifications.
In a letter from TDOT to the Federal Highway Administration’s Tennessee branch, the department states that the unclear instructions may cause “installations deficiencies” and “could result in the terminal performing differently from the original tested conditions.”
X-LITE Guardrails Linked to Seven Deaths
Seven deaths in Tennessee, Missouri, and Virginia have been reportedly linked to X-LITE guardrails.
In each of these deaths, the occupants of the vehicles were killed after their vehicle struck the X-LITE guardrail. The guardrail’s metal pieces then pierced the vehicle, fatally injuring those inside.
One particularly controversial death involved 17-year-old Hannah Eimers, who died after she crashed into an X-LITE guardrail. Although the guardrail reportedly worked as designed and “telescoped” in an attempt to absorb the blow of her crash, according to TDOT, the metal pieces of the guardrail still fatally impaled her and her vehicle.
To add insult to injury, her family was “mistakenly” billed for $3,000 by TDOT after her death for the damage done to the guardrail allegedly responsible for her death.
"I’m shocked, the audacity," said Hannah’s father, Steve Eimers, in response to the bill. "What bothers me is that they’re playing Russian roulette with people's lives.”
Are X-LITE Guardrails Being Recalled or Removed?
In June, Tennessee and Missouri announced plans to remove the guardrails and replace them with a safer model. TDOT has pledged millions to replace all 1,800 of the state’s X-LITE guardrails.
“We have made the decision to remove X-LITE (TX) terminals from the state highway systems through our contracts in our March 31, 2017 bid letting,” TDOT Commissioner John C. Schroer wrote in the letter to the FHWA.
X-LITE systems are installed in at least 19 other states, but it is yet to be seen if those states will also remove and replace their X-LITE guardrails.
What Can I Do If These Guardrails Hurt Me or Someone I Love?
If you or someone you love was hurt by X-LITE Guardrail end treatments, our attorneys would like to hear from you.
You may be able to join a class action to recover compensation for your suffering. Additionally, your participation in a class action can help to hold the manufacturers of the X-LITE responsible for putting this allegedly dangerous product on our country’s roads. To learn more, fill out our free, no-obligation form today.