December 30, 2014 — The states of Kansas and Missouri have banned further installations of the ET-Plus, removing it from their list of approved highway products until safety tests prove it is not defective.
The Associated Press reports that the guardrails may have contributed to a deadly crash that that occurred in January.
The Wichita Eagle reported that the victim, Bradley J. Abeln, was driving a 1987 Ford Bronco behind a semitrailer when the driver of the vehicle to his left fell asleep at the wheel. The driver swerved right, slamming into Abeln’s vehicle and causing him to spin out and hit the end of the guardrail broadside.
The guardrail pierced his driver’s door and seat, ejecting him from the vehicle. Abeln died in the accident. A passenger in the vehicle was severely injured but survived.
The ET-Plus is a “shock absorbing” end terminal that is supposed to deflect the guardrail away from an oncoming vehicle. In October 2014, a jury in Texas found Trinity Industries liable for defrauding the government by failing to disclose design changes to the ET-Plus. The whistleblower who filed the lawsuit says those design changes made the ET-Plus more likely to lock up and impale oncoming vehicles.
Missouri partly funded a study that found a crash involving the ET-Plus was nearly 3-times as likely to result in a fatality compared to four other guardrail end-terminals, and 36% more likely to result in a severe injury.
About 30,000 ET-Plus end terminals are currently installed in Missouri. Nearly 400 are installed in Kansas. About 40 states have banned further installation until crash-tests are completed in early 2015.
Do I have a Guardrail Injury Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting guardrail induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured by an ET-Plus guardrail, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Accident & Personal Injury Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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