The crash-tests will be conducted this month in San Antonio, Texas, by Southwest Research Institute. In the past, Southwest Research has been a business partner of the guardrail manufacturer, Trinity Industries, although Trinity says they are no longer paying royalties to the company.
Jeff Eller, a spokesman for Trinity, said they will only allow representatives of federal and state highway administrations to observe the tests — but even the government will not be allowed to videotape or photograph the tests, according to ABC News.
According to Eller:
“Visual observations cannot determine the outcome of the tests. These tests are data driven. Therefore it would not be appropriate for media to attend.”
However “data-driven” the tests may be, the results should be obvious. In dozens of horrific incidents around the country, the ET-Plus has buckled when hit in head-on crashes, resulting in the guardrail acting like a spear that impales oncoming vehicles instead of deflecting away, causing amputations and gruesome deaths.
Earlier this year, a jury in Texas found Trinity liable for defrauding the federal government by failing to report design changes to the ET-Plus. Trinity saved money on materials, but those changes may have made the guardrails defective.
Hundreds of thousands of the guardrails are installed throughout the United States, but no one knows where. If the crash-tests prove the ET-Plus is defective, it will be up to Trinity and the government to pay for tedious visual inspections on thousands of miles of highway. Then they would likely need to remove and replace every end-terminal.
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