Trinity Industries is the manufacturer and seller of the ET-Plus guardrails. This guardrail includes a component known as the end terminal. This portion of the guardrail is engineered to lessen the impact of a vehicular-crash, without bouncing the vehicle back into traffic.
Public records show that in 2014, Trinity saved $50,000 per year by changing the dimensions of the ET-Plus guardrail and never informed the National Highway Administration (NHWA). The newly designed versions of the guardrail were never safety tested, and the new design has caused many of these end terminal components to malfunction, causing catastrophic harm to drivers.
Due to the dangerous features of the modified version of the guardrails, when vehicles collide with an end terminal of the guardrails, the end terminal no longer lessens the impact of the crash by bending away from the colliding vehicle. Instead, the guardrail bends toward the vehicle and enters the vehicle, from the side or the front, oftentimes spearing the vehicle occupants.
Unfortunately, the federal government does not have the authority to force Trinity to recall the modified versions of the guardrails. It is up to individual states to have them removed from our roadways. While some states have banned further installation of these guardrails, many states have not removed these hazardous devices from their highways.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a guardrail entering your vehicle in a collision, please contact the experienced auto products attorneys at Pope McGlamry. You may complete a free case evaluation or call us directly to discuss the specifics of your case.