Dad tells legislators TDOT at fault in daughter’s death

In tearful testimony Tuesday, the father of a 17-year-old Lenoir City girl whose death was the result of an apparently defective guardrail demanded Tennessee lawmakers take action to prevent future deaths, reports The Tennessean.

Steven Eimers, the father of Hannah Eimers, gave an emotional presentation before the House Transportation Committee, blaming the culture within the Tennessee Department of Transportation and shoddy technology for his daughter’s death. He demanded new independent inspections of guardrails, felony charges for improperly installing them and incentives for state workers to report faulty installation and damage.

“If we pay our contractors to find the damage, they’ll find the damage,” he said. “There’s something remarkable about the free market. It works every time it’s tried.”

Eimers said the effort should go beyond that, however, claiming a “systemic problem” exists within TDOT.

“Safety is more than winning advertising awards for your catchy billboard slogans,” he said.

TDOT officials have acknowledged that the guardrails did not perform as they were intended in several fatal crashes. The agency also mistakenly billed Eimers’ family $3,000 for the damaged guardrail that killed Hannah in November. (Previous post HERE.)

… Paul Deggs, TDOT’s deputy commissioner, said he made the decision last month to pull all of the faulty guardrail ends out of commission after examining only a few crashes where the guardrail failed to work properly. At least seven people have died in six crashes in Tennessee, Missouri and Virginia when their vehicles struck Lindsay X-LITE guardrail ends.

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