Trinity Industries Guardrail Crash Test Reveals Worst Damage Yet
Guardrail Crash Tests and Negligence Lawsuits Continue After Trinity Industries Purportedly Changed Design Of Guardrails Without Running Safety Tests
ABC 20/20 News completed an in-depth investigation on the safety of Trinity Industries guardrails complete with their own crash test. Helicopter video shot by ABC News affiliate KSAT of the Trinity Industries guardrail test shows the crash vehicle with significant damage after the Eight test of these dangerous guardrails. These guardrail test come after accusation that Trinity’s guardrails cause serious injuries in crashes after the guardrail company purportedly cut corners by changing the design of the guardrail without running any additional safety tests. The guardrail tests were conducted by Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. An ABC News producer was present at all tests as a media pool representative.
The guardrail did not pierce the cabin, but the front of the vehicle and the door is crushed inward. According to civil engineer and accident expert Brian Coon, the door “buckled and began violently penetrating the occupant compartment” and reported to ABC News that the guardrail crash, “not only could have caused disabling injuries, but showed a propensity to penetrate the vehicle and cause devastating injuries.”[
http://abcnews.go.com/US/guardrail-maker-fires-back-crash-test-controversy/story?id=29029943&singlePage=true, February 2015]
Trinity Industries, however, does not agree with this assessment. Expert witness Malcolm Ray stated in an affidavit filed by Trinity that the guardrails passed seven of eight required government tests. The 8th test, the test caught on tape, was the only failed test. According to Ray, any comments about the video are not solid evidence as the official testing data has not been made public and the video showed nothing of what was going on inside the vehicle.
The guardrails “passed” the first four tests when federal officials released the test grades. The last four tests are currently being analyzed by additional federal officials and will be released in the next few weeks. According to the Federal Highway Administration, even if the guardrails pass all tests that may not be the end of the story. The agency told ABC News that it plans to address all safety questions raised about the ET-Plus guardrails.
The ET-Plus guardrail system is used on highways across the country. The purported dangerous guardrails are now blamed for gruesome injuries that some negligence lawsuits claim occurred when Trinity Industries changed the design of the guardrail without running any additional safety tests. Over half of all U.S. states have stopped installing new guardrails pending the results of the investigation.
Although the official government test rating is not yet released for the 8th test, Sen. Richard Blumenthal has called the ABC test video “hideously shocking.” “The damage done to the driver’s side is very simply supposed to not happen and so that final test is deeply disturbing and gives me strong reason to say there ought to be more testing,” Blumenthal, said in a statement to ABC News. [http://abcnews.go.com/US/senator-guardrail-test-video-hideously-shocking/story?id=29063976&singlePage=true, February 2015]
However, a spokesperson for Trinity told ABC News in a video interview that crash data analysis involves a lot more than just watching a video. “…you can’t judge a crash test by pictures,” he told ABC News. “You’ve got to wait until all the data is analyzed, until it is looked at. Until you do that, you’re basically just making it up.”
However, ABC News crew on-hand at the scene as media representatives reported that the eighth test looked significantly more dangerous than previous crashes. But the spokesperson for Trinity Industries reminded ABC News viewers, “The data has to go to the Federal Highway Administration. They’ve got to take a look at it. They’re the ones who will make the final determination. And until then, anything other than waiting on that is nothing but pure speculation.”