ALBANY, N.Y. (WIVB) – New York Commissioner of the Department of Transportation Stephen Elmers announced Thursday that the department is moving ahead to remove potentially deadly X-Lite guardrail products from New York’s highways.
Sen. Catharine Young (R,C,I, 57th SD) advocated for removal of the guardrails in the state after 17-year-old Hannah Elmers, a Fredonia native, died in an accident in Tennessee when her vehicle left the interstate highway, crossed into the median, and struck a guardrail. Instead of redirecting the vehicle, the guardrail broke apart and speared the cabin of the car, killing Hannah.
“This is a public safety victory for every New Yorker who travels our state roads and one that could not have been achieved without the tireless advocacy of Stephen Eimers who was determined to spare others from the tragedy his family endured. I applaud his courage and the selfless dedication that has driven his efforts over the past year,” Young said in a statement.
Eimers has become a national spokesperson for highway safety and a staunch advocate for the removal of the X-Lite guardrail systems from roadways, traveling the country speaking about safety and developing a list of fatalities that resulted from flaws in the X-Lite system. He has identified 25 deaths around the nation involving the X-Lite, as well as “horrific amputations”.
Forty-three locations in the state’s highway system have been identified as having X-Lite products, with 16 already addressed and another 27 slated for removal. All units will be removed before the end of the year.