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Justice Dept. Opens Criminal Probe into Trinity Guardrails

April 22, 2015 — Bloomberg reports that the U.S. Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation involving a guardrail made by Trinity Industries.

Sources disclosed that investigators from the Justice Department’s public corruption and special prosecutions unit are interviewing witnesses and have asked for documents involving the Trinity ET-Plus guardrail.

Last year, a jury in Texas found Trinity liable for defrauding the government by failing to disclose design changes to the ET-Plus. Those changes saved Trinity money on materials, but they were never approved by highway officials.

Design changes to the ET-Plus also might have made the guardrail more likely to jam up and impale oncoming vehicles. At least eight people have died in horrific accidents in which the guardrails acted like spears instead of deflecting harmlessly away.

Those startling allegations were first raised in 2012, but the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) did not revoke approval. Instead, the agency continued to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in reimbursements for states that purchased Trinity guardrails.

According to Bloomberg, Trinity maintained a “close” relationship with the FHWA. The New York Times also reported that Trinity engaged in an aggressive “lobbying blitz”, becoming one of the nation’s top donors to attorney general political causes since 2012.

Earlier this year, the FHWA completed a series of eight crash-tests involving the ET-Plus. The media and state highway officials were given limited access and the tests were conducted by a former business partner of Trinity.

The following is a video of the eighth and final crash-test, which appears to show the guardrail jamming up and penetrating into the side of the car. The guardrail severely damaged the door of the car and likely would have injured a passenger, but got a “passing” grade from the FHWA. News, Weather

Do I have a Guardrail Injury Lawsuit?

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting Trinity ET-Plus induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured in a head-on crash with a guardrail, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.

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