Trinity Guardrail Testing Finishes – What’s Next?

Feb 17, 2015 | Consumer Alerts

Testing of a controversial guardrail component that is being removed from Virginia roads as a safety hazard has concluded in the guardrail’s failure and further evidence that the guardrail could cause “devastating injuries” in vehicle accidents, according to an expert’s court filing.

The Trinity ET-Plus guardrail system has been under fire since October, when a federal whistleblower case found that Trinity had defrauded the government by failing to inform the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) of design changes it made to the guardrails in 2005.

After the trial, the FHA ordered Trinity to conduct a series of crash tests. The tests wrapped up in January, with the final test resulting in “more extensive damage to the car than in earlier tests,” according to the New York Times.

In Norfolk, 13NewsNow reports that an engineer hired by the legal team supporting Joshua Harmon, the Virginia man who filed the whistleblower lawsuit against the maker of the ET-Plus, has filed an affidavit in Texas that says the guardrail failed in the January test.

Final Test Resulted in Substantial Damage to Vehicle

Evidence at the whistleblower trial showed that the guardrail system may jam when hit from the front, causing the metal rail to spear the passenger compartment instead of safely snaking away from the vehicle.

The Times describes the final crash test as involving a 1998 Geo Metro that drove into an ET-Plus guardrail while being driven at a speed of 60 miles per hour. The car spun out, and the driver’s-side door struck a bent piece of the metal guardrail, the report says.

The crash left the car with what “appeared to be substantial damage to the driver’s-side door, which collapsed inward and, in the aftermath, hung open, revealing the test dummy. There was also damage to the front of the car,” the Times states.

Brian Coon, the engineer working for Harmon’s legal team, states in his affidavit that the “deformation of the driver’s side door in the January 27 crash test not only could have caused disabling injuries, but showed a propensity to penetrate the vehicle and cause devastating injuries. This was a clear failure.”

According to The Times, Dean Sicking, a guardrail expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who participated in the  federal fraud case against Trinity, said after viewing video of the crash test that the guardrail had “clearly failed” the test.

Trinity Responds After Expert’s Affidavit Is Filed

Trinity responded to Coon’s affidavit by releasing details of four tests prior to the final test, in which the guardrail functioned properly.

“The ET-Plus guardrail end-terminal system is a safe, effective roadside safety product – a fact now documented by a report released by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) confirming the unequivocal success of the first four crash tests using guardrails that represent the vast majority of the ET-Plus end-terminal system installations on U.S. roadways,” the company said in a statement.

According to the Times, the FHWA, which has posted ET-Plus crash test data online, actually said it would have to review all data from the crash tests before making a final pronouncement on the safety of the guardrail system.

Unfortunately, this leaves the future of the ET-Plus system up in the air.

More than 30 states have banned the guardrail and numerous individuals and families have personal injury lawsuits pending against Trinity.

However, evidence from both the final crash in which the guardrail allegedly failed and the previous tests in which it reportedly worked properly will undoubtedly factor into legal claims brought by people who allegedly were harmed by car crashes into these guardrails.

Geoff McDonald and Associates: 804-888-8888.


No Fees Unless We Win

    Vaping and the E-Cigarette Industry; A National Epidemic

    Sleek and minimalist in the design, with a wide variety of flavors and portable chargers able to be discretely plugged into USB-ports; there’s an undeniable convenience behind the technology that fuels ‘vaping’ and the booming e-cigarette industry. Initially promoted...

    Mold Illness: Know the Facts About Toxic Mold

    If there is a mold problem in your home, school, or work place, it can cause serious illness. Children, the elderly, and those with allergies and asthma are most at risk, but anyone can suffer from toxic mold syndrome (TMS). But did you know there are different types...

    Mold Exposure Damages Claims in Virginia

    Mold growth inside living spaces is unhealthy. Apartments, schools, work spaces, offices, and homes that lack proper ventilation and have chronic, undetected (or sudden accidental) water leaks create a damp indoor space that can cause health problems resulting from...

    Hepatitis A Cases in Virginia Linked to Popular Smoothie Chain

    A recent string of Hepatitis A cases in Virginia may be linked to strawberries from popular chain Tropical Smoothie Café. A local NBC affiliate reports that frozen strawberries sourced from Egypt may be to blame, according to the Virginia Department of Health....

    Our Case Results

    Industrial Plant Accident

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Jeffrey A. Breit and Justin M. Sheldon Our client was killed in an industrial accident when an unauthorized worker was operating an overhead crane and pinned our client between…

    Rear-End Crash

    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury, facial trauma, a dislocated hip and severe abdominal trauma when she was rear-ended at a traffic light by a tractor trailer. Suit was commenced shortly after…

    Assault of Log Truck Driver

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Geoffrey R. McDonald, Frank H. Hupfl, Justin M. Sheldon.
    Our client suffered a traumatic brain injury after being assaulted and knocked to the ground while fueling his logging…

    Drunk Driving Crash

    Our client suffered neck/head trauma and a broken wrist after his vehicle was struck by a drunk driver while he was stopped at a traffic light. Upon rejection of a settlement offer of $325,000, our litigation…

    Rear-End Collision

    Attorneys for the Plaintiff: Justin M. Sheldon and Geoff R. McDonald, Richmond
    GMA’s client was injured as a result of a rear-end collision in the greater Richmond area. The crash occurred a little after…

    Client Reviews

    Cheryl and Rich were wonderful and patient with me throughout the case. All of my questions were answered. They really helped me through this tough time and made sure to let me know what was going on. I really thank Geoff…

    Troy Saxby

    My experience with GMA staff was first rate. They always represented in a professional way and made sure I had everything as far as paperwork. Kara and Theo made sure to answer all my questions, was always available and so…

    Shirley Brown

    Geoff McDonald & Associates is the team that you want on the field if you’re in need of top notch legal defense! Mr. Taj Henley demonstrated true customer service skills and his expertise made me feel comfortable throughout the…

    Julian Reeves

    Geoff McDonald & Associates: Thank you Taj Henley for all of your hard work and dedication! Very expeditious in my case and I was very satisfied with my settlement. Will recommend to all my friends and family!

    Shareema Williams

    Geoff is number one in my book and I especially appreciate the support of Mr Henley

    Ebony Conwell

    I was so pleased with the knowledge and support from Mr. Taj Henley

    Kideem Frierson

    Thank you Geoff McDonald &Associates. A special thank you to Mr. Taj Henley

    Denise Conwell

    Mr. Taj Henley displays exceptional professionalism for Geoff McDonald & Associates, along with commendable communication skills and customer service. By his work ethic and commitment to the people he serves his value to any…

    Justin Fitzgerald