April 16, 2015 — The family of a man from Arizona who died in a head-on crash with a controversial guardrail has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer, Trinity Industries.
ABC 15 reports that the lawsuit was filed on behalf of Mark Hranek, 54, who died in April 2014.
While driving a newspaper delivery truck, Mr. Hranek veered into a guardrail. It pierced his truck and severed his leg.
The horrific accident may have been caused by the design of the guardrail. In October 2014, a jury in Texas found Trinity liable for defrauding the government by failing to disclose design changes to the ET-Plus guardrail end-terminal.
During the trial, crash-test videos showed the ET-Plus repeatedly failing tests in 2005 and 2010. Trinity said those tests were experimental and involved a different installation of the guardrail.
Another investigation by researchers in Missouri found that crashes involving the ET-Plus were 36% more likely to result in an injury and 2.9-times more likely to result in death.
The whistleblower who accused Trinity of wrongdoing also said those design changes made the guardrail more likely to jam up, buckle, and impale oncoming vehicles instead of deflecting away.
Meanwhile, officials in Iowa have decided to continue installing the ET-Plus guardrail. Last month, the government said the system passed a series of eight crash-tests.
Those tests were conducted by a former business partner of Trinity. Some argued that the eighth and final test should have been deemed a failure because the guardrail buckled and severely damaged the door of the vehicle in the test.
According to The Gazette, it would have cost $2.4 million to remove and replace about 1,200 ET-Pus guardrails installed throughout the state.
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