The U.S. Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into a highway guardrail system linked to 8 deaths and dozens of injuries, signaling more troubles for Dallas, TX-based Trinity Industries.
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?
April 23, 2015 – Agents from the Boston offices of the FBI and the Department of Transportation Inspector General have interviewed potential witnesses and subpoenaed documents concerning the activities of guardrail maker Trinity Industries, according to Bloomberg News.
News of the investigation comes just as Trinity appeared poised to clear its name after more than a year of scrutiny over its ET-Plus guardrail, a product meant to deflect the impact of headlong vehicle collisions. Last month, the ET-Plus passed a series of crash tests ordered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the government agency that certifies the safety of roadside hardware.
Trinity Stock Plummets Amid News of Probe
The investigation means that Trinity’s troubles are far from over, adding the possibility of criminal wrongdoing to previous allegations of fraud and secret design changes made to its guardrail systems. Trinity fell 9.5%, to $32.82, in New York trading yesterday after dropping as much as 10.1% on news of the probe.
In October, a Texas jury found Trinity guilty of making false statements about a modification that reportedly made its guardrails lock up and spear vehicles rather than ribboning out and absorbing the impact of a crash. The company was ordered to pay $175 million in damages — an amount that under federal statute will triple — with as much as $200 million in additional fines.
Trinity continues to maintain that its guardrails work as intended. It has said its failure to tell the FHWA about the design changes was unintentional, and that the modifications had no effect on the device’s performance. There are currently about 200,000 Trinity guardrails lining U.S. roads, according to the FHWA.
Feds Question Guardrail Test Results
Last month, senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) wrote to FHWA’s acting administrator, Gregory G. Nadeau, saying the agency had “failed to answer many of the questions we have raised” about the performance of Trinity guardrails. Additionally, the senators said the tests were not conducted using current safety standards.
“We find it difficult to maintain confidence that your agency is taking proper action to ensure that the device meets the highest safety standards,” the senators said.
The investigation is being handled by the FBI, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz in Boston, and the Inspector General of the Transportation Department, according to Bloomberg.
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.