Senators Corker, Alexander call for safety examination of X-Lite guardrail terminals

The maker of the X-Lite terminal has successfully passed crash tests in accordance with federal standards. (Source: http://www.barriersystemsinc.com)

WASHINGTON D.C.(WJHL)- There’s a new call for the federal government to take action after safety concerns connected to a specific guardrail end terminal.

Friday, United States Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee) sent a letter to the Federal Highway Administration.

In the letter, they asked FHWA Acting Deputy Administrator Butch Waidelich, Jr. to consider revoking its letter of eligibility for the X-Lite Terminal Guard rail issued in 2011.

The eligibility letter indicates the product has been tested and is eligible for federal reimbursements for states that use it.

But last year, Tennessee’s Departments of Transportation removed the X-Lite terminal from its approved products list based on crash data. And in October, TDOT ordered the product to be pulled from Tennessee roads starting this spring.

Virginia’s Department of Transportation removed the X-Lite end terminal from its approved list last year after independent crash testing.  That terminal is currently being replaced as past of VDOT’s risk-based assessment program.

“In light of these events and growing evidence of safety concerns, FHWA should ask state departments of transportation and the manufacturer to voluntarily provide information on road accidents or petential defects related to the X-Lite guard rail unit,” Senators Alexander and Corker wrote in the letter co-signed by U.S. Rep. John Duncan (R-Tennessee).   “If FHWA identifies safety concers, FHWA should consider revoking the September 7, 2011 letter of eligibility for the X-Lite Terminal Guard rail.”

Earlier this week, an East Tennessee father met with the Department of Transportation in Washington asking for the nationwide ban.   Stephen Eimers said four people have died in X-Lite related crashes in Tennessee within the past year.

Hannah Eimers (source: Eimers family)

One of those people killed was his daughter Hannah who died in a guardrail crash last November.

The company that makes the X-Lite has said the product passed crash safety tests conducted by a company which is owned by the same company that makes the X-Lite terminal.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation said bids have been awarded for the removal of approximately 1,800 X-Lite terminals statewide.

Friday afternoon, Scott Marion, the President of the Lindsay Corporation’s Infrastructure Division, issued a statement in reference to Corker and Alexander’s call for FHWA action.

“For decades, Lindsay Transportation Solutions has made safety our number one priority. The X-Lite guardrail end terminal has successfully passed crash and safety tests in accordance with FHWA standards and criteria, and remains qualified for use on America’s roadways. As experts such as FHWA have pointed out, there are impact conditions that exceed the performance expectations of all road safety equipment–including severity of an impact, vehicle speed, highway design, type and size of a vehicle, installation and maintenance of the product, the angle at which a vehicle makes impact–and the equipment’s inability to singly prevent every tragedy does not indicate a flaw or defect.” 

 

“The transportation safety community has long recognized that a variety of factors, including whether road safety equipment is installed and maintained in accordance with the AASHTO Roadside Design Guide, can affect the severity of an impact. Representatives from Lindsay Transportation Solutions spoke last week with FHWA and AASHTO personnel. On that call, Lindsay informed FHWA and AASHTO that we are continuing a thorough evaluation of field incidents and coordinating efforts with a number of state DOTs and others in the transportation safety community regarding the X-Lite guardrail end terminal. In recognition of the fact that federal crash testing does not replicate every possible scenario and factor, this evaluation considers impact data as well as pre-impact conditions including installation, maintenance, and roadside conditions of the end terminal.”

 

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