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New York State removing dangerous type of guardrail from state roads

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ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) – New York State is the latest state to remove a dangerous type of guardrail, named “X-Lite guardrail systems” from roads. This comes more than a year after a Western New York teen was killed by one of those guardrails in Tennessee. Her father has been urging leaders across the country to get rid of the dangerous rails.

X- lite guardrails will no longer be on state roads in New York State, state officials announced Thursday.

“They are so dangerous on contact, instead of guiding a car back into the roadway as a guardrail should work, they instead shatter apart, turn into a spear and go through the car,” said Senator Catharine Young of the 57th district.

“We can be assured of now these are pulled off the road that no family in New York State is going to have to share in this horror,” said Stephen Eimers in a phone interview.

A horror Stephen Eimers, who lived in Fredonia, knows too well. His 17-year-old daughter Hannah Eimers was killed in Tennessee in 2016 after her car hit an X-lite guardrail. Since then, Eimers has fought to get them off state roads across the country.

“It’s not that I started off to do some national campaign, I just wanted the truth,” said Eimers.

Eimers says he’s found at least 20 other people were killed by X-lite guardrails nationwide.

“I connected Hannah’s accident to a second accident in Tennessee. I soon learned of another one, another, then another and another,” said Eimers.

According to the New York State Department of Transportation, 43 X-lite guardrails were installed throughout the state. Now NYSDOT is getting rid of them. 16 of the guardrails have already been removed. NYSDOT says the rest will be, well before the end of the year.

“Way too many people have died,” said Eimers.

Senator Catharine Young proposed legislation last year to get the guardrails removed and while it passed in the Senate, it failed to make it to the Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Young says she’s grateful the state is still deciding to move forward.

“It won’t bring Hannah back, but doing this in her honor will make sure other people are safe,” said Young.

At least seven other states including Tennessee, Ohio and New Jersey have removed the X-lite guardrails from roads. Senator Young says she wants to know how many of these guardrails are on local roads, in hopes of getting those removed as well.

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