The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) gave Trinity Industries until last Friday to provide crash-test data on the re-designed ET-Plus end-terminal. Trinity failed to meet the deadline.
The announcement came one week after a Texas jury found Trinity Industries liable for defrauding the federal government by failing to disclose design changes to the ET-Plus, awarding $175 million in the whistleblower lawsuit.
In 2005, the ET-Plus was re-designed with a 4-inch feeder chute instead of a 5-inch chute. Critics say it is more likely to lock up, causing the guardrail to buckle and impale vehicles instead of deflecting away in a head-on crash.
About 500,000 of the end-terminals are installed all over the United States. Studies have already found that drivers are about three-times more likely to die when they hit the ET-Plus in a head-on collision. The Federal Highway Administration has ordered new crash-tests. If the ET-Plus fails, it is likely that thousands of miles of roadway will have to be visually inspected.
Transportation officials in California are also combing road projects statewide, looking for the ET-Plus. A spokesman told the OC Register, “We know where rail heads are installed, we just don’t know what brands were used. They’re all over Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento.”
About 500,000 of the guardrails are installed throughout the country, but no one knows where because states don’t keep track of this data. If the ET-Plus fails crash-tests, it is likely that states will have to visually inspect hundreds of thousands of miles of roadway throughout the country.
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The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting guardrail accident induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured or a loved one died in a head-on crash with the end of a guardrail, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Accident & Personal Injury Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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