You're probably used to the idea that there are a lot of dangers on the roads out there -- but you might not realize that one of those dangers is actually beside the road.
X-lite guardrails, produced by a company called Lindsay Corporation, have already been blamed for a number of wrongful deaths and personal injuries. The rails are supposed to prevent rollovers and keep cars from sliding into ditches or over hills. However, a defect in the design of their end treatments can cause the rails to go through vehicles instead of just stopping them. Several states have already begun efforts to remove or replace the rails while injury victims and survivors press forward with lawsuits against the company.
One of those surviving families lives in North Carolina, and a recent accident on 1-77 South in Cornelius brought back the nightmarish memories of the fatal accident that claimed their loved one. The couple's young adult daughter was killed in Tennessee when one of the guardrails impaled her and the driver of the car she was in.
The I-77 wreck was far too familiar for them. In a single-car accident, a motorist lost control and struck the X-Lite rails. Instead of harmlessly stopping the vehicle, two rails went through the car's body. The fire department was able to remove the occupants, although one person was injured. His or her condition is unknown.
The parents of the young woman killed in Tennessee want to bring attention to the dangerous rails because they've been trying to have the rails removed. According to the state's Department of Transportation, there are over 4,000 X-Lite rails installed on the state's roads. While no new ones are being installed, the state is still in the process of replacing the dangerous ends with something safer. Currently, only ends that are damaged or in need of maintenance get replaced.
For its part, the manufacturer has essentially denied responsibility, saying that its rails meet all the federal standards for use.
Anyone who is injured by a guardrail should be aware that there are already questions about their safety. That means that there may be good reason to pursue legal action if you've been injured by a guardrail during a car accident.
Source: WCNC, "New questions over guardrails following accident," Kendall Morris, April 26, 2018