The Virginia Department of Transportation recently announced plans to remove highway guardrails made by Trinity Industries, which are being blamed for injuries and deaths nationwide. The Virginia DOT plans to seek reimbursement for the removal expenses from Trinity, according to media reports.
A Texas jury recently ordered Trinity to pay $175 million for misleading regulators. In response, the Dallas-based company announced plans to cease shipments of its ET-Plus guardrail product. A whistleblower alleges Trinity altered its guardrail design in a manner that failed to conform to regulations. The whistleblower informed the Federal Highway Administration about a confidential design alteration Trinity made in 2005, according to media reports.
The ET-Plus is mounted to the end of a guardrail and is designed to absorb the impact of a vehicle crashing into it. The Texas lawsuit claimed that Trinity made modifications to the ET-Plus’s guardrail design to save money, but the changes could be deadly. According to lawsuits filed against Trinity, the ET-Plus does not absorb impacts properly, but rather spears into crashing cars, potentially causing serious injuries or killing vehicle passengers.
A VDOT spokesperson said that Virginia has paid for and installed 11,000 guardrails since 2006. VDOT made the decision to remove Trinity’s guardrail products after the company failed to meet a deadline for crash testing its ET-Plus end terminal.
The Cochran Firm, D.C. is investigating claims related to Trinity guardrails. If you were involved in a serious vehicle accident in which a guardrail pierced your vehicle, please contact The Cochran Firm, D.C. at 202-682-5800.