Guardrail Lawsuit News: America’s Guardrail Safety Scare Goes International

Guardrail Lawsuit News: America’s Guardrail Safety Scare Goes International

Guardrail Lawsuit Claims Promted After Guardrail System Found To Be Linked To Several Deaths and Severed Limbs In Auto Accidents.


As guardrail lawsuit filings continue, Quebec has joined in with over half of all U.S. states in suspending the installation of a guardrail system that has been linked to several deaths and severed limbs in auto accidents, ABC News reports. To date, 41 states have already suspended the installation of the ET-Plus system. ET-Plus is made by Texas-based Trinity Industries. A Texas jury found Trinity of defrauding the government when it changed the design of the guardrails’ end terminals in 2005 after government safety testing on the original model.

The attorneys at Wright & Schulte note some provinces in Canada are also suspending the installation of the controversial guardrails. The provinces and states plan to start re-using the guardrails when they are able to pass safety crash tests conducted by the Federal Highway Administration.

In September 2014, ABC News 20/20 investigated the allegations against the guardrails from crash victims. According to the report, the guardrail can malfunction when struck in the front by a vehicle. The guardrail is supposed to ribbon out and absorb the impact, but instead, the guardrails “locked up” ramming straight through the vehicle. This severed the limbs of a few crash victims.

According to the 20/20 investigation, the guardrail change in 2005 was extremely minor. The company adjusted one piece of metal in the end terminal on the guard rail, shrinking it slightly from 5 inches long to 4 inches long. This was done so that the company could save $2 per guardrail in manufacturing costs. The company estimated that this could save the company $50,000 per year.

After the Texas jury found Trinity guilty of defrauding the government, the Federal Highway Administration ordered Trinity to conduct new safety tests on the guardrail end terminals. The FHA estimates that about 200,000 of these rails are currently in use on U.S. highways. According to Trinity, the models remain safe and were still approved by the FHA even after the design change was discovered in 2012.

The company will test the guardrails in Texas at a facility in San Antonio. However, critics believe the new test measures may not depict accurate crash conditions and may make the guardrails appear safe, even when they are not. ABC News reports that the critics point to the large number of injuries and deaths linked to the malfunctioning guardrails as clear proof that the current design is not safe. ABC News reports that there are “dozens” of families who believe the guardrails are responsible for the death of their loved ones. However, replacing over 200,000 guardrails throughout the United States would be a long and expensive process.

To date, highway safety organization Caltrans told ABC news that it has not identified any safety issues with the guardrails. The organization has stated that it is too soon to determine if these crash deaths were caused by a guardrail malfunction. Trinity has indicated that it plans to appeal the Texas verdict. The jury ordered the company to pay $175 million in damages, but ABC News reports that statutory mandate will triple that amount. Trinity lawyers have reported to ABC that the final cost could reach up to one billion dollars.

Wright & Schule LLC has successfully represented numerous clients in personal injury and negligence lawsuits throughout the Ohio area including Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dayton. If you are a victim of a crash in Ohio contact one of our attorneys who can help you through all the aspects that follow so you can continue to heal and get back with your life. Call 1-800-399-0795 or visit

Wright & Schulte LLC
865 S. Dixie Dr.
Vandalia, Ohio 45377

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