The crash test involved a 1998 Geo Metro driven into the ET-Plus guardrail at 60-mph. Pictures appear to show the end of the guardrail deflecting through the ET-Plus as intended.
However, the shaft of the guardrail apparently buckled and formed a sharp elbow. When the Geo Metro spun around, the elbow severely damaged the door of the vehicle and hung open, revealing the crash-test dummy. The front of the vehicle was also seriously damaged, as would be expected in a head-on crash.
The guardrail did not impale the vehicle. Federal officials have not made any conclusions about whether the guardrail passed or failed the crash tests. Final analysis could take several weeks.
However, according to the Times, federal guidelines indicate that a guardrail would fail a crash-test if debris or other components “show potential for penetrating the occupant compartment.”
Last year, the manufacturer of the ET-Plus, Trinity Industries, was ordered to pay $175 million after a jury found them liable for defrauding the government by failing to disclose design changes in 2005.
Those changes, say whistleblowers, may have made the guardrail more likely to impale oncoming vehicles in head-on crashes instead of deflecting away.
A few days ago, a vehicle was impaled and a suspected drunk driver critically injured after hitting the middle of a guardrail at about 100-mph in a sports car.
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