Rhode Island recently joined the ranks of six other states to ban a particular style of highway guardrail, the Lindsay X-LITE, due to concerns over the barriers crash safety. The X-LITE guardrails are believed by some to cause potential death or personal injury in car accidents by piercing, or impaling, the vehicles that come into contact with the barrier during a car crash. Several fatal crashes in the U.S. have involved this style of guardrail and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation plans to remove all of them “out of an abundance of caution”, per DOT spokesman Charles St. Martin.
Rhode Island Fatality Due to X-LITE Guardrail
There is one known fatality in Rhode Island involving the X-LITE guardrail. The auto accident fatality took place in Glocester, RI in May 2016. According to the police report, a 29-year-old Massachusetts man driving a pickup truck struck a 10-foot section of the guardrail, rode over the top of the barrier into a utility pole and down an embankment into a tree. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. However, Glocester Police Chief Joseph DelPrete attributes the cause of the accident and its severity to excessive speed, as opposed to a faulty barrier. Chief DelPrete states the truck was driving 90mph on a tight road. The RIDOT did not review this particular incident or determine whether the guardrail is a safety hazard.
There are 31 states in the country currently using the X-LITE barriers. Rhode Island will be the 7th to remove them. The only other New England state that has decided to remove the Lindsay X-Lite guardrails is Vermont. As of now, Massachusetts has no plans to remove their approximate 2,600 sections of X-Lite barriers, the most of any state in the country. They do not plan, however, to purchase any more in the future.
Campaign Pushed by Tennessee Father Who Lost Daughter
The decision by Rhode Island to remove the barriers was set off by investigations in other states as well as a Tennessee man named Steve Eimers who lost his 17-year-old daughter in a car crash when the highway guardrail pierced her vehicle. Incidentally, Mr. Eimers placed a $1,000 advertisement in Florida this past Superbowl Sunday in the hopes of catching the attention of President Donald Trump watching the football game at his Mar-a-Largo home. Investigations by the Tennessee Department of Transportation found that the X-LITE failed to “telescope properly and pieces of it separated horizontally slicing into a vehicle”, according to the Tennessee DOT Commissioner. The manufacturer, Nebraska based Lindsay Transportation Solutions, maintains that the product has “successfully passed crash and safety tests in accordance with federal standards and criteria…. and “no road safety equipment can prevent injury every time a driver fails to stay on the road…”.
When Will the Guardrails Be Removed in RI?
Although Rhode Island has not done any independent investigations, they still plan to remove the potentially harmful barriers due to safety concerns. The RIDOT will remove approximately 350 of the current guardrails currently on RI highways. At this time, there is no cost estimated to remove or replace the X-LITE products and there is no time frame as to when the removal will take place.
Consult a RI Personal Injury Lawyer If You Have Been Hurt in a Car Accident
Rhode Island traffic deaths are at their highest since 2008, with 83 traffic related fatalities seen in the state in 2017, as explored in a recent Tapalian Law personal injury blog. Although, there are any number of factors that can cause a car crash, as personal injury lawyers we know that speeding, drunk driving, and distracted driving, top the list. If you have been hurt in a RI or MA auto accident caused by another driver, do not hesitate to contact the Providence personal injury lawyers at Tapalian Law. Attorney David Tapalian has helped clients all over Rhode Island and Massachusetts seek compensation for their car accident related injuries. You may be eligible for payment for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have lost a loved one in a traffic accident due to a drunk driver or speeding driver, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of your loved one. Attorney David Tapalian understands the hurt and pain that can result in a car crash, whether it be loss of life or serious personal injury. Although there is no amount of restitution that can take away the pain from the loss of a loved one, being rewarded compensation can assist you in paying funeral expenses and other associated costs. The Providence personal injury law firm of Tapalian Law offers a free consultation and injury attorney Tapalian has helped countless clients recover compensation for auto-related injuries and fatalities. To see if you are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit or personal injury claim, seek the advice of the injury law firm of Tapalian Law. Call us today at 401-552-5000, or use our easy, online contact form.