Ban proposed on controversial guardrail

Ban proposed on controversial guardrail (WRGB)

ALBANY – State lawmakers are mounting an effort to ban a controversial guardrail product from being used along highways and roads in New York.

They're called X-LITE guard rail terminals—a product that goes on the end of a guard rail.

CBS News reports they're linked to at least four deaths in Tennessee, including the recent death of a teen who came from Western New York.

Days before that case, the State of Tennessee’s Department of Transportation stopped installing that type of guard rail terminal, over safety and performance concerns.

In New York, contractors are still cleared to install the X-LITE terminal. It's on the New York State DOT's list of approved materials.

A DOT spokesman tells CBS 6:

“Only guiderails that have been approved for use by the Federal Highway Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation are listed on the DOT website. DOT would coordinate with FHWA on any proposed changes.”

"I was surprised, because I think they do a pretty good job of vetting materials,” said Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, who’s co-sponsoring the legislation that would ban the product.

"We'll need to do what we can, whether it’s sponsoring legislation, whether it's writing to the DOT—to the commissioner to make sure that our guiderails and guardrails are actually doing their job--that people are not being impaled and [the guardrail’s are] not breaking,” he continued.

In a statement, Lindsay corporation -- the company that manufactures the guard rail terminal—responded to a recent story involving Tennessee teen Hannah Eimers:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Eimers family and all of those affected by this tragic accident. For decades, Lindsay Transportation Solutions has made safety our number one priority. As federal standards and criteria change, we work with states to offer products that help them to enhance safety on the roads for their drivers. The X-Lite guardrail terminal has successfully passed crash and safety tests in accordance with federal standards and criteria, and remains qualified for use on America’s roadways. It is widely recognized that there are impact conditions that exceed the performance expectations of all safety equipment. While federal crash testing is intended to assess a variety of conditions, no test can replicate every possible scenario. Many factors can affect the severity of an impact, including the type and size of a vehicle, the angle at which a vehicle makes impact, vehicle speed, highway design, and many more. Without understanding the complete details of an accident, there is no additional information we can offer.”

The bill to ban the product was just introduced in the New York State Senate this week. Stay with CBS 6 for any updates.

For more on this story, click here.

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