(WJHL) – The maker of the X-Lite guardrail safety device is under federal investigation, according to the company’s latest annual report.
The report by the Lindsay Corporation states that the company is involved in a number of liability lawsuits involving the X-Lite end terminal.
It also states that “In June 2019, the Company was informed by letter that the Department of Justice, Civil Division, and U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York, with the assistance of the Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General, are conducting an investigation of the Company relating to the Company’s X-Lite end terminal and potential violations of the federal civil False Claims Act.”
This follows multiple reports of problems with the devices, including four fatal crashes in Tennessee from summer 2016 until May 2017. That is when the Tennessee Department of Transportation announced it would remove all X-Lite devices in the state.
The X-Lite was designed to collapse the metal guardrail like a telescope in a head-on crash. However, TDOT’s chief engineer told News Channel 11 that the rail pierced the car in the fatal crashes.
According to the report, the Lindsay Corporation is concerned about the litigation affecting its earnings. “Depending on the outcome of this matter, there could be a material adverse effect on the Company’s business or its consolidated financial statements. Given the current posture of the matter, the Company is unable to estimate a range of potential loss, if any, or to express an opinion regarding the ultimate outcome.”
A spokesperson for Lindsay Corporation sent News Channel 11 a statement that “We are unable to comment.”
While TDOT has already removed the guardrail terminals across the state, the Virginia Department of Transportation set a goal of replacing X-Lite on roads with speeds of 55 miles per hour or higher by the end of 2019.
According to Marshall Herman with the Officer of the Secretary of Transportation, the state is “on track to replace the remaining X-Lite terminals” on time. Herman said the replacements are still to be finished in the Bristol, Fredericksburg, Lynchburg, Hampton Roads and Richmond VDOT districts.