November 7, 2014 — Trinity Industries has met an October 31 deadline to plan new safety tests of potentially defective guardrails, narrowly avoiding an outright ban threatened by the Federal Highway Administration (FHA).
The FHA said they will “expeditiously, but carefully, review the plan,” but did not give a timeline, according to ABC News.
Critics say crash-tests have already suggested the Trinity ET-Plus could be defective. Engineers at the University of Alabama compared crash-data on five different end-terminals and linked the ET-Plus with a 3X risk of death and 36% increased risk of severe injury.
Last month, Trinity lost a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that they defrauded the federal government by failing to disclose design changes that may have compromised safety. The whistleblower also accused Trinity of concealing five failed crash tests — allegations Trinity denies. Soon after the verdict, Trinity stopped shipping the guardrails.
Some states are not wasting any time. At least 39 states have banned further installation of the ET-Plus. In Virginia, officials have already begun a process to locate all of the end-terminals and remove them.
About 500,000 of the guardrails are installed throughout the United States, but no one knows exactly where. It will be up to road crews to visually inspect thousands of miles of highway. The sooner state officials know the results of the crash-tests, the sooner they can begin removing them, if necessary.
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