February 4, 2015 — The last crash-test involving Trinity Industries’ ET-Plus guardrail may have been a failure, according to the New York Times.
Officials have not determined whether the eight crash-test was a pass or fail, and final word likely won’t come for another few weeks.
However, pictures appear to show the guardrail buckling and severely damaging the driver’s door, which hung open and exposed the crash-test dummy. The test involved a 1998 Geo Metro that was driven into the end of the guardrail at 60-mph.
According to the Times, guardrails are not allowed to deform or intrude into the occupant compartment. Fragments or other debris are not allowed to “show potential for penetrating the occupant compartment.”
The ET-Plus is supposed to absorb the impact of an oncoming car and deflect the guardrail away from an oncoming car. While some of the guardrail was deflected away, it also buckled and formed a sharp elbow that nearly impaled the Geo Metro when it spun around.
The crash-tests are being performed because whistleblower say Trinity changed the dimensions of the ET-Plus in 2005 without performing new safety tests. Those small changes may have made the guardrail more likely to lock up and impale oncoming vehicles.
Last week, a man was critically injured after a guardrail impaled his sports car. The driver of the car was suspected to be drunk and hit the middle of the guardrail at about 100-mph.
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