Devastation Due to Out-of-Date Guardrail - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Devastation Due to Out-of-Date Guardrail

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    Guardrails should be “crash worthy."

    A local New Jersey man won a whole lot of money in one of the largest lawsuits against Camden County—a whole lot of money meaning $32 million bucks!

    And, it was all because the county failed to follow the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Official’s guide to upgrade Guardrail Safety Standards…from 1977, attorney Jason Daria told NBC 10 Investigator Harry Hairston .

    It all started with a tragic accident back in December of 2004 when Nick Anderson of Atco, N.J. was forced to swerve to dodge a car that crossed into his lane.

    He lost control of his vehicle and slammed sideways into the front-end of a Camden County guardrail near Raritan Ave. and Ellwood.

    As if losing a right leg wasn’t already painful enough for Anderson, the county billed him $25,000 for repairs.

    After 34 surgeries and 4 years of pain, Anderson sued the county and won the battle.

    All well and good except Anderson’s attorney says this kind of accident can, and is likely, to happen again.

    The county still hasn’t upgraded the guardrail as of today; they only fixed it to its original condition before the accident.

    This is a serious problem because guardrails should be “crash worthy,” meaning they should absorb the energy of the vehicle not be able to go right through a car door, severing someone’s leg, says Daria, one of Anderson’s representatives.

    Camden County did have something to say in light of all this, “We are certainly aware of and deeply sympathetic to Mr. Anderson because of the injuries he suffered…We are conducting a critical review of the county roadway system.”

    But, apparently, it’s not cost effective to go out and find outdated and unsafe guardrails, according to New Jersey Department of Transportation.

    “They have a policy in Camden County not to replace their guardrails until after a motorist hits them and then they bring them back up to applicable safety code,” claims Anderson’s attorney.