After a second round of government crash tests, Trinity Industries Inc.s guardrails appear to be safe despite previous reports of the products failures.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced that the ET-Plus system used in millions of guardrails across the country did not penetrate vehicles during the most recent government-mandated tests. Trinity Industries Inc.s guardrails passed a series of eight tests, four of which were completed last month.
The tests revealed that although the guardrails pushed in the drivers side door as far as the steering wheel during testing, it is unlikely that a driver would have been injured as a result of the guardrail. Furthermore, the tests did not show that the guardrails penetrated vehicles. Nonetheless, lawsuits have been filed on behalf of families who lost a loved one or were injured after a Trinity guardrail impaled the victims vehicle.
The FHWA also consulted with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding the guardrails potential to injure vehicle occupants. The NHTSA said there was only a low risk of serious injury after reviewing test results.
The FHWA report also concluded that the majority of the modified ET-Plus systems in the U.S. fall within the products design specifications from 2005 and there is no evidence to support allegations that Trinity Industries Inc. has altered their design since then.
More than 40 states suspended installations of the Trinity ET-Plus system until testing was completed. Each state will now have to decide on its own if they wish to resume installation of these guardrails.
Despite the company’s ET-Plus system passing the tests, a joint task force with state transportation representatives is still evaluating crash reports on accidents involving Trinity guardrails. The government may even require further, more stringent testing in the future.
Earlier this year, the Commonwealth of Virginia sued Trinity Industries alleging that the company sold the state thousands of dangerous guardrails. Prosecutors for several counties in Illinois have also sued the guardrail manufacturer.
Ultimately, the question of why some ET-Plus guardrail systems failed and injured drivers and passengers needs to be answered.
If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of a defective product, the personal injury lawyers in Silver Spring, MD at Goldberg Finnegan can help.