A Texas lawmaker is advocating for annual guardrail inspection reports following a series of tragic accidents in her state. State Senator Sylvia Garcia recently told reporters she wanted to see guardrail inspection reports released to the general public. At present, Texas guardrails along bridges are inspected every two years, but others are inspected only as needed. The inspection reports aren’t released to the public.
Texas has put a moratorium on the controversial Trinity ET Plus guardrail model, which has been known to malfunction. When it fails, the guardrail pierces vehicles, often amputating or killing passengers inside. When working as intended, guardrails should thread the end terminal and spiral backward under the weight of the car, bringing it to a safer stop.
That hasn’t always happened, experts say. Though the ET Plus has passed federal safety tests and remains on the national list of approved guardrails, Texas Department of Transportation has not lifted their moratorium. Other states have put similar policies into effect for the ET Plus guardrail end terminal.
The device may or may not be inherently dangerous – the jury is still out on that. But there’s no denying the danger of improperly installed guardrails of any maker or manufacturer. That’s why increased inspections could be so valuable for public safety.
We applaud lawmakers who advocate for more transparency from the folks responsible for maintaining our roads. With leaders like Senator Garcia fighting for the public’s safety, we can only hope these guardrail accidents will soon be a thing of the past. Until then, though, more pressure needs put on regulators to be more strict about the safety devices that are found on our nation’s roads.