December 4, 2014 — ABC13 News Now reports that Trinity Industries, the maker of the ET-Plus highway guardrail, will not allow members of the media to observe federally-mandated crash tests scheduled to begin later this month.
According to Jeff Eller, a spokesman for Trinity, only representatives of federal and state highway administrations will be allowed to view the tests.
State and federal highway officials will be allowed to visually observe the crash-tests, but they will not be allowed to record video or take photographs. Only Southwest Research will be allowed to record the tests, according to ABC News.
“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 incidents around the country, the guardrails have impaled oncoming vehicles in head-on collisions, resulting in horrific injuries, amputation of limbs, and death.
The tests will be conducted in San Antonio, Texas, by Southwest Research Institute, a former business partner of Trinity — although Trinity insists they are no longer paying royalties to the company.
If the guardrails are found to be defective, it will be up to Trinity and the government to pay for visually inspecting thousands of miles of roadway to locate the guardrails, which must then be removed and replaced.
Earlier this year, Trinity was found liable for defrauding the federal government by failing to disclose design changes to the ET-Plus in 2005. Those changes, say a whistleblower, make the “shock-absorbing” guardrail more likely to lock up, buckle, and act like a spear.
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