Previously, we have written about the history of the Trinity ET-Plus guardrail and its checkered past. The design history of this product reflects changes being made for financial gain to the manufacturer without disclosing them, according to the evidence resulting in a verdict in favor of a whistleblower in Marshall, Texas.
The Trinity ET-Plus is placed at the end of a guardrail to slow errant cars by sliding down the guardrail when struck, absorbing the energy, and dissipating the vehicle’s speed. It was originally approved for use by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for use in 1999 and was used extensively around the nation. Below is a picture of the device.
In 2005, Trinity changed the design to save money, but failed to inform the FHWA about the changes. These changes are at the heart of a nationwide controversy because they appear to have caused it to malfunction when struck by a vehicle.
Our office represents two families destroyed by these defective devices. In the first case, the device did not travel the length of its chute but kinked instead, killing a 24-year-old man. In the other case, three youths in a car that hit the end of the ET-Plus also kinked and abruptly stopped, were then redirected off the road down an embankment to road below into a second collision. The resulting fire consumed the vehicle seriously injuring the three young men.
Finally, Caltrans is doing something about it. But is it enough?
Earlier this year, Caltrans agreed to replace the ET-Plus guardrails currently on roadways throughout the State “as needed”.
“If there is a section of roadway under construction or an incident, they will be replaced with another type of guardrail,” Matt Rocco, Caltrans Media Relations Manager.
So what does Caltrans plan for all of the devices on the 396,000 miles existing on State roads?
Why are those devices not being removed before someone else is hurt or loses a life?
Why are people being exposed to future injury and death that the past has shown will occur again and again?
We are in extensive discovery against Trinity at this time in these two cases. If you wish any information about litigating a case involving this guardrail system, please contact Thomas Brandi at 800-481-1615.
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