INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Nov. 13, 2014) – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) is investigating the integrity of 4,000 guardrails on roadways throughout Indiana.
These guardrails are everywhere, found on highways across the U.S., but have in recent months been tied to accidents, some of which have been deadly.
Guardrails are made to crumble on impact. The Trinity ET-Plus guardrail though, critics say, can impale a car if hit.
“Thus far we have not found any evidence of a malfunction of the ET-Plus, but we’re still investigating at this point,” said INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield.
The agency is looking into 600 crash reports linked to the guardrails. So far, in Indiana, Wingfield said there has been no proof that the ET-Plus has malfunctioned.
But when told about incidents in other states and asked if the 4,000 Indiana ET-Plus guardrails would be removed, “Well, those are in the field and again we have not had any evidence of malfunction,” said Wingfield.
Trinity, the company that makes the guardrails, has discontinued their sale and will wait till a federal review of the product is complete before determining if they’ll be recalled.
The Federal Highway Administration has deemed them safe for use, but is currently running crash tests, the results of which they say will be available in early 2015.
Prior to the installation of these guard rails, crash tests were not done.
Before Trinity ended the sale of the ET-Plus, 12 states discontinued their use of them.
“For them to know about deaths caused by hazards like that and not do anything about it, that’s a big problem for this state,” said one Indiana driver.
There is an ongoing lawsuit linked to 14 different accidents with injuries caused by these guardrails.
A federal jury in Texas ruled last month that when Trinity created this guardrail, they did not disclose all the details of its design to the Federal Highway Administration. As a result of that ruling, the company could have to pay up to $1 billion in damages.