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Horrific crash raises questions about guardrail safety in Arizona

"We need to set them, and then inspect them and then annually inspect them, and then fix them in a timely manner," said the "Guardrail Guy."

ARIZONA, USA — An Arizona driver survived a destructive collision last week after falling asleep at the wheel and striking a guardrail on State Route 87 near Payson.

The nasty crash is causing concern about guardrail safety across the state.

Stephen Eimers, the self-proclaimed "Guardrail Guy," spends a great deal of time inspecting and researching guardrails along state highways in several states, including Arizona. 

Eimers's interest in guardrails started in November of 2016 after losing his daughter in a wreck involving a guardrail in Tennessee.

"You have to open your eyes. You have to realize that yes, one bolt can kill you, and one loose cable can take a survivable crash and make it a deadly crash, Eimers explained. She went off the left side of the road and a guardrail speared into her vehicle, killing Hannah instantly."

"What we saw in Payson, it didn't work, it was a horrific outcome, but for luck, that driver would be dead today. He simply is alive because it missed him," said Eimers. 

DPS said the driver dosed off and hit the guardrail, and while he did survive, Eimers noted there was an obvious problem with the railing.

"There's a cable that anchors the system, and the street view imagery appears to show that the system was not anchored," he explained.

While it's unconfirmed if anything was wrong with the guardrail in place, Eimers would still like to see statewide inspections done annually to ensure driver safety.

"We need to set them, and then inspect them and then annually inspect them, and then fix them in a timely manner."

12News reached out to the Arizona Department of transportation that manages these systems; they've received our inquiry and said they plan to get back to us.

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