The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) recently decided to stop installing a specific type of metal guardrail on its highways that has been connected to a variety of serious accidents and injuries across the nation. The E-T Plus guardrail designed by Trinity Industries has been shown in various investigations to have specific defective attributes that could cause it to not work the way it is supposed to.
Rather than crumpling up and absorbing impact, these guardrails could end up impaling cars that ram into them if they get into a head-on collision with an end of the guardrail. These issues were originally uncovered after a whistleblower from Trinity Industries came forward and revealed that the Federal Highway Administration never approved the current guardrail product after it went through some design changes in 2005.
These guardrails have been in service across the country for about nine years. According to investigations into the safety of these guardrails, they are less safe than the previous design of the guardrail because of certain size differences. The previous design was five inches, while the current one is four inches, providing less collision protection. The head of the smaller guardrail has been shown to be more likely to fall off in an accident, which essentially turns the end of the guardrail into a dangerous spear.
There have been a wide variety of wrongful death and personal injury cases filed across the country in relation to these guardrails. Caltrans says that it will not use these guardrails any more until more research has been conducted into the safety of these products, and until efforts have been undertaken to ensure that the design is appropriate for highway use.
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident due to defective guardrails or other roadway hazards, meet with an experienced San Diego car accident lawyer at Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire right away.