BUFFALO, N.Y. - The New York State Department of Transportation confirmed Thursday it has temporarily removed a scrutinized guardrail device from its approved product list, marking a major development in a story 2 On Your Side has covered extensively over the past several weeks.
Lindsay Corporation's "X-LITE" guardrail end device has been blamed for several traffic deaths in multiple states, including 17-year-old Fredonia native Hannah Eimers, who was killed in a crash in East Tennessee last November.
In a statement, NYSDOT spokesperson Tiffany Portzer said the guardrail end terminal device will not be eligible for any "future guardrail installations" until further review.
Earlier this week, legislation to ban the X-LITE from New York's roads unanimously passed the State Senate's Transportation Committee, moving now to the Finance Committee as the heart of the spring legislative session approaches. The bill, sponsored by Senator Cathy Young (R-Olean), was prompted by 2 On Your Side's reporting this spring.
Other states have taken action as well.
Tennessee has decided to spend millions to remove the X-LITE from its roads, according to the state's Department of Transportation. Missouri will also begin removing the devices, and several other states have indicated they're investigating the situation. The Federal Highway Administration has asked for X-LITE data from all 50 states, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.
In the mean time, Senator Young's bill has two co-sponsors in the Senate. Both are Western New Yorkers: Democrat Tim Kennedy of Buffalo and Republican Michael Ranzenhofer of Amherst. Assemblyman Sean Ryan (D-Buffalo) sponsors the bill in the Assembly.
Hannah's father, Stephen, told 2 On Your Side that he's pleased to see legislative action in his daughter's home state.
"This is a bill that should pass with unanimous support. This isn't conservative or liberal. This isn't Democrat or Republican. Highway safety is basic," Eimers said. "And everyone can agree on it-- this device is deadly. It needs to come off New York state roads, and it needs to come off every road in the United States."