Tennessee Father Produces Video for Trump – To Change Dangerous Guardrail Ends
In 1995, I recall being given the opportunity to help Billy Hungerford; who was horrifically and tragically injured as a result of a defective guardrail. Since that time my law firm has handled injuries from defective guard rails. By 2016 shouldn’t we have fixed this type of highway defect, which can result in so much tragedy?
So, I was struck by the tragedy suffered by a dad, Steve Eimers, after he lost his daughter Hannah to the very same problem:
“President Trump, your concerns about guardrail spearing are legitimate. My daughter, Hannah Eimers, was fatally impaled by a defective Lindsay X-LITE guardrail end in Tennessee. I would love to talk with you about infrastructure investment, highway safety and my concerns with the Federal Highway Administration of the United States. Thank you.”
So states a stoic father staring at the camera in a homemade video posted to YouTube. The 30-second spot will air on Super Bowl Sunday in an effort to get the attention of the White House.
“I am shooting for the moon,” Steve Eimers told The Palm Beach Post in an article titled “Tennessee dad buys pre-Super Bowl ad in Palm Beach to reach Trump, whose daughter was killed in 2016.” “I’m counting on him being at Mar-a-Lago. It’s worth the shot for me.”
Trump is expected to return to his Florida home Feb. 2 through Feb. 4, according to a notice issued Jan. 30 by the Federal Aviation Administration, so it appears Eimers guessed right. The 42-year-old paid $1,000 to air the video on local NBC affiliate WPTV-TV. It will run in the afternoon, prior to the 6:30 p.m. kickoff. Super Bowl Sunday advertisements start at $5 million this year.
“I call it guerrilla marketing, just asymmetrical marketing,” Eimers said in the article, noting that he has reached out to Congress to try to ban the guardrails from U.S. roadways.
Hannah was 17 when the car she was driving crashed into a guardrail on Interstate 75 in McMinn County. She died instantly after the guardrail end pierced the door on the driver’s side and emerged on the passenger’s rear door, hitting her in the process.
“It was at this point the guardrail struck the driver’s side door,” WBIR-TV, of Knoxville, Tenn., reported in a story titled “Lenoir City teen dies in McMinn County crash.” “The guardrail struck the driver of the vehicle and pushed her into the backseat of the vehicle.”
The date was Nov. 1, 2016. Hannah was in a 2000 Volvo with a friend who was uninjured. Eimers argues Hannah should have been uninjured, as well, or at least escaped with minor injuries. He has filed a lawsuit in circuit court for wrongful death.
“During the collision, the X-LITE end terminal and rail system failed to perform its intended safety function and purpose due to a defect(s) with its design, manufacturing, and / or warnings,” the lawsuit states. “Specifically, the X-LITE guardrail failed to properly perform / telescope upon impact. As a result, when the X-LITE end terminal was impacted by the Volvo, it was not able to maintain its integrity and stop the W-beams, thus allowing the W-beams to pierce through the Volvo’s exterior and frame, and enter its driver’s side occupant compartment and puncture all the way through into the rear passenger side door.”
Guardrail ends are designed to absorb the impact of an incoming car, not stop the impact in its tracks. Eimers’ complaint further states that the guardrail end in question was not installed correctly because of inadequate instructions provided by the company.
“The Lindsay Defendants owed a duty of reasonable care in the design development, testing, manufacture, assembly, inspection, marketing, distribution, promotion, training, advertisement and sale of the Subject Guardrail so as to avoid exposing Plaintiff to unnecessary and unreasonable risks,” the lawsuit states. “The Lindsay Defendants breached that duty….”
Lindsay Transportation Solutions, of Omaha, Neb., defends its product on its Web site.
“Among its offerings, Lindsay Transportation Solutions manufactures and sells road safety equipment including the X-LITE Guardrail End Terminal, a redirective, gating end terminal that is a component of guardrail systems used on highways across the United States,” the Web site states. “The X-LITE Guardrail End Terminal meets the guidelines contained in NCHRP Report 350 and has successfully passed crash and safety tests in accordance with Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) standards and criteria, and remains qualified for use on America’s roadways.”
In Tennessee, as many as 1,800 Lindsay guardrail ends dot the state, which is planning to spend millions of dollars to repair and replace them. Nationwide, they have been linked to 11 deaths.
“Tennessee, which had the third most X-LITE guardrails of any state, was the first to announce it would replace all of the guardrails on roadways,” reports USA Today’s Knox News in an article titled “More lawsuits accuse guardrail manufacturers of negligence.” “The X-LITE makes up slightly more than 1 percent of all the guardrails nationwide, according to an inventory conducted by the Federal Highway Administration.”
The issue has gained national attention not only because of the tragic loss of a teenager, but also because the Tennessee Department of Transportation shockingly sent Eimers a bill totaling $3,000 four months after the accident to cover the costs of the damage.
“It’s obscene,” he told The Washington Post in an article titled “A teen died in a car crash – then the state of Tennessee billed her for the broken guardrail.” “They will kill you and then they will bill you.”
All that can be hoped for is Trump or a responsible official seeing the video or hearing about it through various media outlets and remembering his comments during an infrastructure session in Washington D.C. that addressed the topic of dangerous guardrails ends. He was quoted as saying he is afraid he would “get speared” if he were to hit one.