Last month, 20/20 aired a story exploring the issue of dangerous guardrails, particularly a widely used guardrail model that is more dangerous than others. The investigation sparked widespread concern that was supported by a recent study funded by The Safety Institute.
The study concerned ET-Plus end terminals, which are part of guardrail systems manufactured by Dallas-based Trinity Highway Products, the largest guardrail manufacturer in the world. According to an increasing number of lawsuits being filed against the company, a design flaw makes the guardrails defective and more prone to causing injury and death.
Following a collision, the force of an impact will push standard guardrails into an end terminal. The guardrail, which is in the shape of a W is then flattened and curls off to the side. This process absorbs energy from the crash and slows the vehicle down. With guardrails using the ET-Plus system, the terminal can lock up, which can then cause the W-beam to enter vehicle compartments, causing injury to drivers and passengers.
Researchers from the University of Alabama Birmingham analyzed serious and fatal crashes involving the defective guardrail. They found that motorists who crash into an ET-Plus guardrail face:
- A roughly three times greater risk of dying.
- An almost two times greater risk of injury.
Trinity Highway Products has faced a number of personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits related to collisions involving Et-Plus end terminals. The lawsuits allege that when the company reduced the size of the end terminal in an attempt to save money, they made the guardrails less safe. Officials from the Federal Highway Safety Administration and other state and federal officials have expressed their concerns and the need for a nationwide safety review.
At The Daspit Law Firm, we fight for victims and families harmed by defective products and companies that place profits over people. If you have questions about your rights after an accident involving a defective product, including unsafe guardrails, contact a Houston injury lawyer from our firm for a free case evaluation.