Father of teen killed by guardrail says state is playing "Russian roulette"

"Dangerous" guardrails on roads?

A father is outraged after his daughter was billed for a guardrail involved in her fatal car crash.

"They killed her, then they billed her," Stephen Eimers said. 
 
Nearly four months after Eimers' 17-year-old daughter, Hannah, died in a car crash in November, Tennessee sent a nearly $3,000 bill for repairs to the X-Lite guardrail stopper Hannah collided with.
 
"It is one of the emotionally most tone-deaf acts that I think I have ever witnessed," Eimers said. "It wasn't made out to me. It was made out to Hannah. I was furious."

Last November, Hannah's car left the road, and as she corrected, she collided with the end of a X-Lite guardrail stopper. She was killed instantly when it "intruded" into her Volvo sedan's driver's door, "striking her in the chest and head."

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Hannah Eimers Courtesy of the Eimers family 

 "I don't understand how you can leave a dangerous product on the road after you've already acknowledged it," Eimers said. "That's Russian roulette. The state of Tennessee chose to play Russian roulette with people's lives and my daughter is dead."

Eimers is calling on the state to remove all X-Lite guardrail end pieces — about 1,000 in Tennessee. They are linked to at least four deaths. Guardrails are designed to absorb the impact of a crash, and the metal stoppers on the end are supposed to help bend back the metal in some instances and slow the car down.
 
Just days before Hannah's crash, the Tennessee Department of Transportation stopped installing that type of guardrail stopper, citing safety and performance concerns. They are now replacing them on roads with speed limits over 45 mph.
 
"We have seen some crashes at the state highway and how some of these products are reacting to some of these particularly high-speed type crashes," Paul Degges of the Tennessee Department of Transportation said.
 
Degges admits sending a bill to the Eimers was a horrible mistake. 

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Guardrail stopper CBS News

"The department really apologizes for that," Degges said.
 
In recent years, there have been mounting concern about the performance of some guardrails.

"When they work, they work very well. What we've seen over time though is a variety of different changes have made them less safe," said Sean Kane, a vehicle safety expert and president of Safety Research and Strategies.

In a statement, Lindsay Transportation Solutions, the company that manufactures the guardrail, told CBS News the product "has successfully passed crash and safety tests in accordance with federal standards." They added: "It is widely recognized that there are impact conditions that exceed the performance expectations of all safety equipment."