Lenoir City dad pushes for legislation against improper installation of guardrails

Local News

A Lenoir City dad is heading back to Nashville and the heart of his mission is making our interstates safer.

Steve Eimers’ 17-year old daughter Hannah was killed in a crash involving an X-Lite guardrail end terminal in November 2016.

More: Family, friends honor life of Lenoir City teen killed in wreck

Eimers made an emotional plea last spring to Tennessee lawmakers to remove all X-Lites from highways.

Related: ‘Open your eyes,’ Lenoir City father urges Tennessee lawmakers to make changes to guardrails

This year, Eimers is hoping lawmakers pass a bill against contractors improperly installing guardrail equipment.

“What we’re dealing with is a life issue,” said Eimers.

He’s working with Rep. Jimmy Matlock on House Bill 2477.

“Our bill is a step to bring people accountability who have knowingly installed guardrails incorrectly,” added Rep. Matlock.

If this bill passes, it will only be applicable in crashes with injury or death.

“What we want to have is a mindset for anybody out there who thinks, ‘You know, I’ll do it the easy way. I’ll kind of shortcut this idea. I’ll get in and out quick. I’ll save a few dollars.’ We’re saying to them, you do that with peril,” said Matlock.

If a contractor is found guilty, it comes with a $10,000 fine and it’s a Class A penalty, meaning up to five years in prison.

“We’re not trying to get a guy who accidentally makes a mistake,” said Eimers.

“Remember contractors, 99.9 percent of them, would never ever think about this but it has happened already once in our state and we’re fearful it’s happened around our nation,” said Matlock.

Eimers is asking for crews to be responsible so that every driver can make it home.

“There will be hundreds of lives that have been saved and they’ll never know that I didn’t die on this day. I got to live my dreams because a 17-year old girl died in McMinn County, Tennessee.”

Eimers will speak next week in front of the Transportation Committee because lawmakers are tightening up the language in HB 2477. From there, the proposed legislation will be brought to other committees for discussion before it can be voted on in the house.

The Tennessee Road Builders Association has not responded to a request for their thoughts on this possible legislation.

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