Most drivers are aware of the dangers posed by other drivers, bad weather, poor visibility and other factors. But there are less visible hazards as well. In some cases, the safety infrastructure we take for granted may actually be responsible for causing injuries and deaths.
In a recent report, Fox 5 Atlanta exposed the dangers of a certain type of highway guardrail. According to investigators, there have been numerous deaths and serious injuries caused by the end caps of X-LITE guardrails. The end caps can reportedly spear and tear through cars in the event of a collision.
These particular guardrails were approved for use by the Federal Highway Safety Administration in 2011 and have been installed in areas throughout the country since that time. But in response to serious and fatal accidents, 13 states have decided to either remove the X-LITES already put in place or to opt against installing any new ones.
Fox 5 reporters have discovered at least 11 “spearing accidents” cases in three states that involved X-LITES. Although no such accidents have been reported in Georgia, the Georgia Department of Transportation removed X-LITES from its list of approved products. Only about 300 of the state’s 32,000 guardrail heads are X-LITES, but they will not be replaced until they wear out on their own. Unfortunately, some are installed here in metro Atlanta.
Statistically speaking, accidents related to X-LITES are rare, particularly compared to other road hazards. But this investigation raises the important point that car accidents can be caused or exacerbated by many different factors, including some that are not immediately evident. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident and you believe that negligence many have been a factor, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you investigate the crash and take legal action.