Monday, October 6, 2014

Guardrail design called defective, dangerous; manufacturer denies claims.

WFXT-TV Boston (10/4, Beaudet, Rothstein, 176K) notes a 2011 accident in which Massachusetts driver Dianna Allen’s leg was severed after her Cadillac slammed into an ET-Plus “guard rail end terminal ... meant to protect vehicles and their occupants.” But instead of moving with the oncoming car and absorbing the energy from its impact, as designed, the guard rail turned into “a giant spear.” Dallas-based Trinity Industries, which makes the ET-Plus, said it “has a high degree of confidence” in the device’s “performance and integrity” and notes the FHWA continues to allow its use. Steven Lawrence, Allen’s lawyer, has clients across the US who say they were injured in crashes involving an ET-Plus. He claims a 2005 design change has left the device prone to malfunction. Trinity is also facing retrial of a whistleblower lawsuit claiming the company knew the ET-Plus was defective but continued selling it. 

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