As testing continues on Trinity highway guardrail systems, 2 U.S. senators sent a letter to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) saying the tests performed to date are inadequate and need to be more rigorous. Trinity’s Et-Plus guardrails have been found to jam when struck by oncoming traffic, causing the metal rail to impale vehicles like a spear rather than ribboning out and absorbing the impact of the crash as designed.
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?
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 are not being performed 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 letter said.
Trinity maintains that its guardrails are safe. FHWA approved the ET-Plus for federal reimbursement money, even as state transportation authorities raised safety questions. However, after an Oct. 2014 whistleblower trial, the agency said it would investigate the matter, including requiring Trinity to perform new crash tests. More than 30 states have banned installation of the company’s guardrails pending results of the tests.
Those tests began in Dec. outside San Antonio, TX, and the most recent took place on Jan. 16. FHWA officials have not disclosed results of the 6 tests conducted to date, but said last month they were “unremarkable.”
However, according to the senators’ letter, FHWA improperly allowed Trinity to conduct the new tests under an older safety protocol, rather than the more stringent standards put into place in 2011.
“It is critical that testing now underway use the most credible and up-to-date methodology,” the senators said, noting that since Trinity violated the law by not disclosing how it had narrowed the channel of the ET-Plus end terminal from 5 inches to 4, the company should have been held to new safety standards in place when FHWA became aware of the change in 2012.
Tony Furst, FHWA’s associate safety administrator, previously stated the agency’s goal in allowing the use of the older standard was to “rebaseline” the ET-Plus by repeating the exact tests it underwent in 2005, since questions had been raised about those tests’ validity. Furst indicated that additional tests may be necessary in the future.
Feds to Investigate Guardrail Maker
April 23, 2015 – The Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation of Trinity’s guardrail systems, according to Bloomberg News. According to the report, federal investigators are interviewing potential witnesses about Trinity’s relationship with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and investigators from a public corruption and special prosecutions unit of the Justice Department are said to have subpoenaed documents from court battles involving ET-Plus on behalf of a grand jury. Click here to learn more.
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.