Oklahoma, along with numerous other states, has now banned a controversial guardrail end from being installed on its highways. The guardrail end – Dallas-based Trinity Highway Products’ ET-PLUS model – has been blamed for numerous serious and fatal motor vehicle accidents. At press time, News On 6 in Tulsa reported that Colorado, Massachusetts, Missouri and Oregon had also banned the product from installation.
The issue with the guardrail endcaps is in their ability to absorb impact. A standard guardrail is supposed to crumple when a vehicle collides with it, spreading the force of the blow through the structure .Trinity’s ET-PLUS model can instead malfunction and impale the vehicle, causing injury or even death to passengers.
In October, a whistleblower claimed that this defect came from changes made to the endcap over a decade ago. These changes were made without proper testing or notifying the Federal Highway Administration. Trinity, however, insists that they have maintained testing standards since introducing the guardrail system in 2000.
Despite these claims by the company, they lost a case in Texas that forced them to pay $175 million in damages. A judge could alter the amount, and the False Claims Act could potentially triple it. The Federal Highway Administration has demanded that Trinity create a plan for retesting the guardrails. At stake are federal subsidies, paid to states for installing the approved guardrail systems
As for the situation in Oklahoma, an ODOT spokesperson stated that while there are currently no plans to remove existing guardrails, new ET-PLUSes will not be installed until their safety is verified.
Seriously Injured in an Accident Involving a Guardrail?
Our Guardrail Injury Lawyers are currently investigating serious and fatal guardrail accidents related to this untested guardrail design. If you or a loved one were injured in an accident with a guardrail, contact our attorneys to discuss your legal options. We offer a free, no obligation, case evaluation – Get Help Now 877-544-5323