November 7, 2014 — Trinity Industries, the manufacturer of the ET-Plus highway guardrail end-terminal, has narrowly avoided a federal ban after promising to conduct new safety tests.
ABC News said the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) had received a plan to re-test the safety of the guardrails, which they will “expeditiously, but carefully, review.”
It was submitted just under an October 31 deadline the FHA imposed before the agency would ban the ET-Plus outright. The government has not set a time-table on testing the guardrails.
Some crash-tests have already found evidence of a design flaw that could cause the guardrail to fail. Safety tests conducted at the University of Alabama have already linked the end-terminals to a tripled increased risk of death and 36% increased risk of severe injury. The whistleblower also says Trinity concealed five failed crash-tests involving the re-designed ET-Plus, a charge Trinity denies.
Last month, a jury in Texas ordered Trinity to pay more than $175 million after a whistleblower accused them of quietly changing the design to save money on materials. That design change may have jeopardized the safety of the ET-Plus, making it more likely to break and impale oncoming vehicles instead of deflecting the guardrail harmlessly away.
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