Safety concern over guardrail design prompts investigation
Posted on Monday, October 27th, 2014
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will begin investigating claims that a design flaw in the widely used ET-Plus guardrail is causing significant injuries to accident victims.
Some states are already pulling guardrails made by Trinity Highway Products after four deaths and nine severe injuries have been linked to performance failures in the newly redesigned equipment. In 2005, the Texas-based company reduced the size of a component in the end terminal of their guardrails, saving the company two dollars per unit. When functioning properly, the end terminal will collapse on impact and absorb much of the energy from a head-on crash. However, experts are claiming that the slight change in design is enough to cause the end portion not to fold, impaling vehicles in some cases. Furthermore, because Trinity failed to report the modification to the proper institutions as mandated, some critics believe that they were intentionally hiding poor safety test results.