State transportation officials plan to remove highway guardrail end caps manufactured by a Nebraska company that have been the subject of lawsuits across the country alleging safety defects.
The Nebraska Department of Transportation said in a news release that it is temporarily discontinuing the use of the X-Lite guardrail end caps, a system manufactured by Lindsay Corp., of Omaha. The only four X-Lite end caps currently in use in the state — all on the Platte River bridge south of Central City — will be removed, the department said.
The department also said it will remove the X-Lite end caps from its list of approved guardrail end treatments.
“Although Nebraska has no negative experiences with the X-Lite, there are enough questions around the nation regarding the in-service performance of the end treatment to cause NDOT to pause, take a step back and see what steps the manufacturer takes to resolve these outstanding questions and concerns,” the department said.
The company defended its product in a statement given to the Lincoln Journal Star. The company said that when properly installed and maintained, “roadside hardware like X-Lite will reduce the number and severity of injuries sustained in car accidents.”
A lawsuit filed last week in South Carolina alleges that design defects in the end caps caused a woman’s death there in April 2017. Another lawsuit filed last week in Tennessee blames the end caps for causing severe injuries to a woman.
Two other lawsuits filed in June in Tennessee alleged the guardrails were responsible for three deaths in two crashes.
The lawsuits say that instead of telescoping to absorb impact when vehicles hit them, the guardrails pierced through vehicles.