Report Highlights More Failings in Highway Guardrails
If you lose control of your car, or are involved in an accident and are heading toward a barrier that will prevent you from plunging off the road, it’s important that the barrier doesn’t fail.
However, alarming evidence about the adequacy of these barriers has been raised in recent years. Now new evidence in a report from two federal transportation agencies has renewed concerns over whether the guardrails on our highways meet safety standards.
WAVY 10 On Your Side has monitored the safety of these guardrails over the last few years. In a recent report the channel highlights the evidence two Federal Transportation agencies that say they found performance limitations in several guardrail systems, not just the controversial ET-Plus guardrail from Trinity Industries.
Following the recent tests on the barrier, researchers say future guardrails should be held to “new” crash standards.
The New York Times reported last week on how “thousands of guardrails on American roads, made under an old and outdated safety standard, may experience problems if hit by vehicles at certain angles or if they were improperly installed,” according to federal and state transportation officials.
The Federal Highway Administration and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, a nonprofit group that represents the interests of state transportation officials, released the joint report last Friday that documented dozens of crashes involving guardrails as well as the “potentially dangerous performance limitations of roadside equipment.”
The transportation officials have recommended drawing up a timetable in which stricter testing standards would be applied to newer guardrails on our highways. Although more rigorous guidelines were imposed in 2011, states are still allowed to buy and install roadside devices that were tested under less rigorous, older standards — an issue that has been criticized by lawmakers and safety advocates.
The latest findings follow the scandal involving Trinity Industries, a company that has been accused of making a guardrail terminal, the ET-Plus, that can “jam and spear through vehicles.” The Justice Department along with the Transportation Department inspector general’s office, is conducting a criminal investigation into the company and its dealings with the Federal Highway Administration.
This summer, a Texas judge handed down a $663 million judgment against Trinity in the wake of a trial last October in a whistle-blower case filed by Joshua Harman, a competitor who discovered that Trinity had made a key change to its ET-Plus guardrail in 2005, but failed to tell federal regulators as required by law.
It’s very alarming when equipment that is meant to safeguard the motorist could constitute another danger. If you have been hurt in a car accident due to the fault of another in Virginia or North Carolina, call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at 757.455.0077.