NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) —A teen killed in a traffic crash is being honored with legislation that’s also aimed at keeping roads safe.
The Hannah Eimers Memorial Tennessee Roadside Safety Hardware Act specifies requirements for testing crash cushions and guardrail end terminals on public highways and roads maintained by the Department of Transportation.
It’s named after East Tennessee 17-year-old Hannah Eimers, who was killed in a crash involving an X-LITE guardrail in November 2016.
“She was driving on the interstate and had a wreck and went into the guardrails and it basically impaled her, it didn’t function properly and impaled her car and killed her,” recalled Tennessee State Senator Becky Massey (R-Knoxville). “So it was a tragic accident. But apparently, there were other people around the country that the same thing happened to and her dad became a major advocate actually going all over the country advocating for the removal of these guardrails and increasing the safety in order to save lives.”
According to Senator Massey, they learned after the crash that the company that made those guardrails had done safety testing, but they had not done independent safety testing. They’ve removed those guardrails in Tennessee but SB1671 takes those safety efforts further to help ensure these types of equipment are properly tested.
The maker of the X-LITE guardrail, Lindsay Transportation Solutions released the following statement to News 2:
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) examined and re-examined the X-LITE and its in-service performance and gathered input from state departments of transportation across the United States. In FHWA’s evaluations, the X-LITE performed consistently with other end terminals on U.S. roads and highways and did not lead to any conclusion that the X-Lite was unsafe. Numerous states have confirmed that they’ve had no negative experiences with the X-LITE.-Lindsay Transportation Solutions
“Any type thing that they would be purchasing to have installed, it would have to go through independent tests. They would have to give all the testing results, it would have to all be validated to make sure that what we are purchasing in Tennessee to be a part of our roads is not going to be a known hazard to our drivers,” Massey explained.
Massey said Hannah’s dad Steve Eimers got this testing requirement included in the federal infrastructure act that passed last year but this bill would create state-level requirements.
“But we don’t want to wait for the federal government to get that all implemented. And for it to come down. We want to have the safest standards here in Tennessee,” Massey said. “We want to be able to know that the products that we are purchasing with our funds, that it’s going to be reliable. I mean, you know, there’s never anything that’s 100% Perfect. But if you know, if the testing has been done, the safety standards has been done, and that there is some, you know, accountability.”
She said another component of the bill stipulates that if a company makes any changes to the structure the state has to be notified so the alterations can be tested as well.
The bill is scheduled to be discussed in the Senate Transportation and Safety Committee later this month.