Guardrails are designed to keep accident victims safe, but one such guardrail has been known to malfunction. The ET-Plus model, designed by Trinity Industries, has been highly scrutinized this year following several deadly accidents involving the device. The guardrail end terminal is supposed to absorb energy from colliding vehicles, peeling backward and away from the victims. Instead, the guardrail head has malfunctioned, spearing vehicles head on and injuring passengers. Some victims have even had limbs amputated by the sharp metal guardrail.
Tennessee’s department of transportation recently told wsmv.com that there are nearly 13,000 ET-Plus models on the state’s roads. Though the state – along with more than thirty others – has banned the product from being installed, the design has been in use for years. Most states do not keep track of which model of guardrail head is installed where, so a recall would require road crews to check each individual device.
Considering how dangerous these guardrail end terminals have proven, it is shocking to realize just how many of them are on our roads and highways. At any moment, you or someone you love could be in an accident involving one of the ET-Plus guardrails. They’re designed to help keep us safe in that situation, but their presence could ultimately do more harm than good for passengers in accidents.
Additional safety testing is being done to determine the future of ET-Plus guardrail end terminals. In January, officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will make the ultimate decision whether to recall the product from roads around the country.