An East Tennessee fight is continuing to be a McMinn County father’s work, advocating for safer guardrails across the country.
Steve Eimers’ work is inspired by his 17-year-old daughter, Hannah Eimers, who was killed in a car accident in 2016 when her car ran off the road and into a guardrail.
The specific brand of guardrail, Eimers later learned, is the Lindsay X-LITE guardrail system.
“I asked my local state representative three questions, that has simply snow-balled into a national platform,” said Steve Eimers.
Eimers has spoken in Nashville to Tennessee state leaders, in Washington D.C., and beyond. He says he won’t allow what happened to his daughter happen to another family.
“When I learned of other deaths from X-LITE around the nation, I knew there was something very very wrong. I knew I had to act,” said Eimers.
He says he wants to share Hannah’s stories, and the stories of other families like his who lost a loved one to accidents involving the system, to advocate for safer products on the roadways.
“I can’t accept that another family in new Hampshire is going to share in this horror…” said Eimers.
Tennessee removed all X-LITE guardrail systems, nearly 2,000 of them.
The Lindsay Transportation Solutions, who makes X-LITE guardrails, released a statement saying:
“Numerous states that use the X-LITE on their roads have confirmed that the X-LITE has saved lives and reduced the number and severity of injuries sustained from automobile accidents.
“Lindsay Transportation Solutions and other road safety stakeholders like FHWA, AASHTO and state DOTs are focused on the strategies needed to end all roadway fatalities. That goal isn’t impossible, but it hasn’t been achieved yet. Regarding end terminals, a 2015 joint FHWA/AASHTO task force reported that among the road safety community, there is an acknowledgement of the limitations of designing road safety hardware to account for every possible traffic and field condition variable. The task force acknowledged there will be ‘crashes that exceed the performance expectations for the terminals,’ that their ‘performance … is dictated by physical laws, vehicle stability, vehicle crashworthiness, and the site conditions of these real–world crashes,’ and that they are ‘developed and tested for selected idealized situations that are intended to encompass a large majority, but not all, of the possible IN-service collisions.’
“In 2011, the FHWA issued a Safety Eligibility Letter reporting that the X-LITE passed all applicable vehicle crash tests, standards and criteria, was crashworthy, and was acceptable for use on the national highway system. In 2017, the FHWA re-confirmed that finding in response to a request that the agency reexamine the X-LITE and its in-service performance.
“Lindsay continues to work with all stakeholders to improve road safety.”