WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Super Bowl advertisements that air nationwide this weekend cost upwards of $5 million each, but one man in Tennessee bought game day ad space on just one television station: WPTV.
Stephen Eimers knew President Donald Trump spent Super Bowl Sunday at Mar-a-Lago on Palm Beach in 2017, so he hoped the same would happen this year. He purchased 30 seconds of airtime Sunday afternoon and made his own public service announcement with the help of his daughter's former classmates in television production school.
"President Trump, your concerns about guardrail spearing are legitimate," it begins.
Eimers says President Trump has addressed highway safety and guardrail dangers in the past. He's hopeful the president will push federal highway safety leaders to make changes immediately.
His daughter, Hannah Eimers, was killed when she hit a guardrail end and it pierced her car. The guardrail product was manufactured by Lindsay X-LINK, a company mentioned in a number of other death cases in the U.S.
Hannah was 17 at the time. She was the eldest of 10 children, a mix of adopted and biological kids. She had written novels, raced through high school and was already in her second year of college at the time.
She "was extraordinarily talented and because of this defective product, she walked out of our house and we never saw her again. What these things do when they fail are horrific," he said.
Eimers has connected with dozens of other families who are mourning the deaths of loved ones who were killed colliding with X-LINK products. One of the deaths was captured on dash cam video, and he shows it in the short PSA.
"We were left to pick up pieces. Literally. That's our reality. That's the reality of families all across the United States."
On X-LINK's site, the company states, in part, "No guardrail end terminal system can prevent every tragedy; the X-Lite Guardrail End Terminal is designed and manufactured to reduce the number and severity of injuries sustained from automobile accidents. A variety of factors contribute to the severity of an impact. These include speed; the angle at which a vehicle makes impact; road conditions; driver impairment; and whether or not the equipment was installed and maintained correctly."
Florida Department of Transportation confirms there are X-LINK guardrail ends still in place on public roads. Eimers says Florida is one of 4 states that still has the items on roadways, while several others have had them removed or banned.
In 2013, Contact 5 investigators unveiled a series of similar accidents involving guard rail ends from a different manufacturer. Experts told WPTV anchor Shannon Cake the guardrails could potentially kill or injure a person if they were installed or produced improperly.
Eimers says his efforts are no longer for Hannah, they're aimed to keep other people safer in the future.
"The reality is i'm not doing this for Hannah. In my world view, I believe in the inherent transcendent value of life. I'm doing this so I never have to call you up, I never have to call another family up. So that no other family has to face this horror. Life has value," he said.
Statement from Lindsay Transportation Solutions:
“Lindsay Transportation Solutions builds road safety equipment that reduces risks for drivers on America’s roads. Lindsay proactively offers a variety of training resources to help states and contractors with proper hardware installation and maintenance, such as road safety tours, a mobile app available in four languages, and onsite training. While X-LITE has successfully passed crash and safety tests in accordance with Federal standards, there is no road safety equipment that can prevent injury every time a driver fails to stay on the road. When properly installed and maintained, roadside hardware like X-LITE will reduce the number and severity of injuries sustained in car accidents. Lindsay continues to work collaboratively with road safety stakeholders on national initiatives to enhance safety on America’s roadways.”