Missouri and Kansas transportation departments have suspended installations of Trinity guardrails after they were found to malfunction on impact and spear through vehicles. The two states joined more than 30 others that have banned use of the Trinity ET-Plus guardrail system over safety concerns and in response to product liability lawsuits.
Free Guardrail Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or a loved one has been injured in a guardrail accident, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer of the guardrail and we can help.
What’s the Problem?
A fatal accident earlier this year in Clay County, KA, focused local attention on the controversy surrounding Trinity Guardrails. Bradley J. Abeln of Polo was killed Jan. 17 when his vehicle slammed into a guardrail near Liberty. A Trinity ET-Plus end terminal was thrust into the driver’s seat, ejecting Abeln and his passenger, according to court documents.
The ET-Plus was designed to absorb energy and push the guardrail away from oncoming traffic. However, according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of Abeln’s 4 children, secret design changes made to the device in 2005 caused the end terminal to lock up and bend when struck by vehicles. The lawsuit was filed in June and MO banned Trinity guardrail systems in September.
Trinity suspended sales of the ET-Plus in October after a jury imposed a $175 million judgment – an amount that will triple to $525 million under federal law – against the company over allegations that it altered the device without notifying the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), which reimburses states for guardrails on federal highway projects.
After the verdict, Trinity was ordered to conduct a new round of safety testing for its guardrail systems, which is expected to be completed in January. Company spokesman Jeff Eller predicted the new tests will show the ET-Plus is safe.
“We have full confidence in the ET-Plus guardrail system,” Eller said. “We have confidence it will pass.”
A recent study found that Trinity ET-Plus guardrails are 4x more likely to be involved in fatal accidents than earlier models. States are in the process of inventorying their guardrail systems to determine what equipment has been installed and where.
Which States Have Banned Trinity Guardrails?
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
Do I Have a Highway Guardrail Lawsuit?
The Product Liability Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Highway Guardrail Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new guardrail injury and death cases in all 50 states.
Free Highway Guardrail Lawsuit Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one has been injured in a guardrail accident, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Guardrail Suit and we can help.