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Controversial guardrail manufacturer pauses sales

Posted on Monday, November 3rd, 2014   

In an unexpected move, Trinity Industries temporarily froze sales of their potentially dangerous guardrail model, the New York Times reported on October 24.

Trinity Industries has announced that they will stop any new sales of their “ET-Plus” guardrail, and will not fill existing orders until further testing can be completed. This is a deviation from the position they took earlier in the year, in which they claimed to “have a high degree of confidence in the performance of the ET-Plus System,” and that they intended to continue to manufacture and sell the product even amidst controversy.

More than thirteen states have now banned the model after a redesign of their guardrail’s end unit was discovered. Several lawsuits throughout the country have pointed to this modification as the cause of head-on guardrail failures, resulting in extensive injuries and at least five deaths. The details of these complaints all similarly claim that, instead of collapsing to absorb the impact of a collision, the guardrail impaled their car and its occupants in some cases.

Trinity is expected to have a safety testing plan submitted by this Friday.

 


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.

 

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