Did the president get the message?
A Tennessee father who lost his 17-year-old daughter to a defective guardrail hopes so.
Steve Eimers spent $1,000 to take out a 30-second ad/PSA on West Palm Beach NBC affiliate WPTV-Channel 5 that ran before the Super Bowl on Sunday.
The spot had nothing to do with selling anything. The emergency technician hopes he could appeal to President Donald Trump, who had mentioned guardrail safety during his infrastructure proposal, and was reportedly watching the big game from Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach.
In the early morning hours of Nov. 1, Hannah Eimers was driving her father’s 2000 Volvo S80 to school on Interstate 75 northbound in Niota, about 50 miles from Knoxville. For reasons that are not mentioned in the Tennessee Highway Patrol report, Hannah veered into the median and hit a guardrail, which impaled the driver’s side door, and struck her in the head and chest, killing her instantly. Her passenger escaped with barely a scratch, reports The Washington Post. Her car struck a safety feature known as a guardrail end, which is designed to soften impact.
“It should have been, at worst, a minor-injury accident with property damage — probably little to no injury,” Eimers told the paper last year. “The girl that was with her in the other seat had a little, tiny cut.”
More than 1,800 of the controversial Lindsay X-LITE rails remain installed on Tennessee highways.
“President Trump, your concerns about guardrail spearing are legitimate,” Eimers says in the spot. “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.”
Last summer, Lindsay Transportation Solutions, which manufactures the X-Lite guardrail, released a statement to CBS News saying the rails are safe.
“For Lindsay Transportation Solutions, providing products that save lives is our top priority. Any allegations questioning the safety of X-Lite are without merit. X-Lite has successfully passed crash and safety tests in accordance with federal standards and criteria, and remains qualified for use on America's roadways. Just last month, the Federal Highway Administration examined available end terminal performance data and found no reason to conclude that the devices reviewed, including the X-Lite, are unsafe. The equipment's inability to singly prevent every tragedy does not indicate a flaw or defect. There are a variety of factors that contribute to the severity of impact in any instance, such as excessive speed, the angle at which a vehicle makes impact, and whether the equipment was installed and maintained properly.”
USA Today reports at least seven people have died in six crashes in Tennessee, Missouri and Virginia when their vehicles struck Lindsay X-LITE guardrail ends.