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Maryland replacing controversial guardrail end caps

Every time you drive your car, you’re taking advantage of interlocking safety systems -- traffic signals, reflectors, lane dividers, highway rumble strips. Each of these protects you in a specific way and makes our roads safer. Unfortunately, sometimes these safety features don’t work as expected, and in rare cases they can actually make the roads more dangerous, not less. This appears to be the case with the controversial Lindsay X-LITE guardrails, which Maryland is now taking steps to remove from the state’s highways.

Linked To Fatalities

Guardrails keep cars on the road surface in case they swerve wildly, limiting the damage wrought by even more treacherous terrain. However, there’s always the risk that a car can strike the end of the guardrail. The end caps of the X-LITE guardrails, in common use throughout Maryland, were found to actually skewer cars on impact instead of deflecting them, depending on the angle. The death of a young Marine earlier this year spurned action, and hundreds of these end caps will be replaced under a plan recently announced by state transportation officials.

Danger Recognized By Other States

Maryland is far from alone in their bid to replace X-LITE end caps. More than 40 other states have already removed these guardrails from their approved product lists, citing multiple lawsuits and their own internal studies. While the manufacturer denies culpability, stringent new safety regulations have largely disqualified them from continued use.

Car accidents are always a scary experience, regardless of speed. Fortunately, with the vigilance of oversight agencies, the roads are about to get a little bit safer.

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