Guardrails are installed on many major roads and highways throughout the Nashville area. They help prevent roadway departures in areas that are deemed dangerous, such as steep declines, trenches, near utility poles and trees, and waterways along the side of the road. In short, a collision with a guardrail may be less severe than driving off the road in a dangerous area.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, guardrails have two key components: the guardrail face and end terminal. When a car collides directly with an end terminal, the guardrail should be designed to either bend or telescope in a way that absorbs the impact of a crash. Certain guardrail models, however, have failed to do so.
Defective guardrails resulting in fatal crashes in Tennessee
Several traffic fatalities involving X-Lite guardrails have happened across the U.S., including here in Tennessee. X-Lite guardrails were manufactured by Nebraska-based company Lindsay Transportation Solutions. The X-Lite guardrails were designed to telescope upon impact. That means one component would collapse into another, slowing a car to a stop.
In several cases, however, the X-Lite end terminals failed to collapse. They have pierced through vehicles and caused several fatalities to drivers and passengers. According to the knowxnews.com, at least four people have been killed in collisions with X-Lite guardrail end terminals since 2016. These include:
- A 17-year-old female was killed instantly after an X-Lite end terminal failed to collapse on Interstate 75 in McMinn County
- An 18-year-old male and a passenger in the driver's side rear seat were killed on Interstate 40 in Cumberland County
- An SUV passenger was killed in Chattanooga after an X-Lite end terminal pierced through the passenger's side.
Actions taken against Linsday Corporation
Lindsay Corporation asserts that its X-Lite guardrails have been evaluated and deemed safe.
“The Federal Highway Administration has examined and re-examined the X-LITE and its in-service performance and has gathered input from state departments of transportation across the country. In the FHWA’s evaluations, the X-LITE has performed consistently with other end terminals on U.S. roads and highways. Numerous states that use the X-LITE on their roads have confirmed that they’ve had no negative experiences,” the company said in a statement.
However, the father of one of the victims has since investigated X-Lite guardrails and has called on lawmakers to introduce stricter legislation. In 2017, the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) decided to begin removing and replacing all statewide X-Lite guardrails.
According to the TDOT, there were approximately 2,000 X-Lite guardrails across the state. All of them were replaced by July 15, 2018. Several other states have also removed X-Lite guardrails.
If you were injured, or lost a loved one, after a collision with a defective guardrail, it's critical that you speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
The legal team at Nashville firm Thompson Law can investigate the cause of your crash. We will find out where negligence occurred. We have built a reputation for helping crash victims pursue justice and maximize their compensation. Our case results speak for themselves.
To find out how we can help you, contact us online for a free consultation.