October 15, 2014 — Missouri has banned further installation of the ET-Plus Guardrail over concern about impalement of people and vehicles in accidents, according to New York Times.
Missouri joins Nevada and Massachusetts, which issued similar bans in January. Lawsuits allege that at least 5 deaths, numerous injuries, and at least 14 crashes nationwide have been linked to the problem.
The Times reviewed internal documents from Nicholas Artimovich, a senior engineer at the Federal Highway Administration (FHA). He was in charge of reviewing the safety of the guardrails, and expressed concern about safety problems.
In one email, Artimovich said, “There does seem to be a valid question over the field performance.” In another, he said it was “hard to ignore the fatal results.” However, after Trinity Industries reassured him about the safety of the guardrails, Artimovich signed off on their continued installation throughout the United States for the next two years.
Now, state and federal highway safety officials are publicly expressing concerns that the ET-Plus is defective. A transportation official in Missouri wrote in an internal communication, “The device is not always performing as it is designed and intended.”
According to lawsuits, the design of the ET-Plus guardrail end-cap was quietly changed in 2005 by the manufacturer, Texas-based Trinity Industries. The first federal lawsuit involving the ET-Plus is scheduled to begin next week in Marshall, Texas.
Plaintiffs allege that Trinity reduced the length and width of the feeder chute, which causes the guardrail to lock up inside the end-cap instead of feeding through it and deflecting away from an oncoming vehicle. Consequently, the guardrail may act like a spear that impales oncoming vehicles and occupants.
Do I have a Guardrail Injury Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting ET-Plus guardrail induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been impaled or injured in a guardrail accident, 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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