As Tennessee prepares to spend millions of dollars removing and replacing over 1,500 hazardous guardrail ends, other states may soon follow suit. Numerous traffic fatalities in several states including Tennessee, Missouri, and Virginia are attributed to X-LITE model guardrail ends. In these accidents, the guardrail ends impaled crash victims traveling on highways with speed limits of 70 mph.
Representatives of the X-LITE manufacturer claim that the guardrail ends perform exactly as designed upon impact. Opponents of the use of the X-LITE on high-speed highways say that not only do they fail to absorb the impact in serious car accidents, but they can also potentially impale the driver.
The majority of guardrails are made up of several pieces designed to absorb the impact of a high-speed crash by “telescoping” upon themselves. By collapsing inward, the metal end of the guardrail is prevented from piercing the vehicle involved in the crash. Guardrails are designed to function this way at speeds of 62.2 mph or greater.
Problems with the X-LITE
In Tennessee, the X-LITE guardrail failed to perform consistently when tested at the standard speed. In some collisions, the ends of the X-LITE actually detached from the guardrail and punctured the vehicle, exactly what guardrails are not supposed to do. In other test crashes, the X-LITE failed to properly telescope, but did not pierce the vehicles.
The Tennessee branch of the Federal Highway Administration found that a lack of clarity in the X-LITE’s installation instructions could cause deficiencies causing the guardrails to perform poorly in the event of impact.
Replacing Guardrail Ends
Should other states consider replacing X-LITE guardrails in the future, they can look to Tennessee for direction. Tennessee is the first state in the country to proactively overhaul their X-LITE guardrail ends. In March 2017, the state began accepting bids to replace approximately 1,700 X-LITE ends on state roads with speed limits over 45 mph.
It costs, an average of $2,000 to remove and replace a single X-LITE, averaging Tennessee a total of $3.6 million in total. All X-LITEs are scheduled to be replaced by June 2018. Missouri has stopped repairing and installing X-LITE guardrail ends, and has not ruled out replacing all remaining ones throughout the state.
Lindsay Transportation Solutions, the manufacturer of X-LITE guardrail ends, says safety is always their top priority. They assert that the X-LITE continues to pass crash tests and is approved by the Federal Highway Administration. For the families of loved ones killed in collisions with X-LITE guardrails, preventing another family from suffering their pain is worth fighting for.
New Brunswick Car Accident Lawyer, Harold J. Gerr, Fights for Car Accident Victims
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a car accident, contact the New Brunswick car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Call our Highland Park, New Jersey offices at 877-249-4600 or contact us online to discuss your case.