Guard Rail Accidents – Coffey Trial Law
Guard Rail Accident Law Services
Coffey Trial Law helps those who have been injured in accidents involving guardrails. We also are dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers and safety issues linked to ill-made guardrails. Specifically, we are bringing attention to the devastation brought about by Trinity Highway Products.
All across the country, there are guardrails made by Trinity Highway Products. Many are being evaluated due to the hundreds of crashes and roughly twenty deaths linked to Trinity’s guardrails. In particular, the design of Trinity’s ET-Plus end terminals is under speculation. It is believed that Trinity changed their design, altering the performance of their product: and they didn’t find the change worth mentioning initially.
However, in January 2014, a driver in North Carolina certainly paid the price for Trinity’s silence. The driver fell asleep at the wheel and swerved off of I-40. He crashed, head-on, into an ET-Plus guardrail. Instead of acting as an energy-absorber (as it was intended) and bending away from the vehicle, the end of the guardrail sliced into the car. The driver’s right leg was severed at the scene, and his left leg had to be removed later by doctors. Another victim was injured when a guardrail off of I-85 penetrated the driver’s door, severely wounding the driver and leaving him with a host of broken bones, a bruised lung, and spinal injuries. The North Carolina Department of transportation stated that over 10,000 of Trinity’s ET-Plus guardrails line the state’s highways.
But who has proof of Trinity Highway Product’s redesign?
Well, Safety Research and Strategies, Inc. (SRS) is a national product safety firm, and they filed a suit in January 2014. They requested a public release of the documents that detail the safety of the Trinity guardrails across the nation. The SRS also claims to have made the request twice before in November 2013 as well as in January 2014. They are alleging that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have disregarded the Freedom of Information Act in their refusal to comply and turn over the documents. In fact, the SRS states that in 2005, Trinity redesigned the ET-Plus without alerting the FWHA. The changes didn’t come to light until 2012, when a controversy over a patent exposed the alteration.
While the ET-Plus was not introduced until 2005, it was, in fact, a redesign of Trinity’s ET-2000, which had been approved by the FHWA back in the 1900’s. The ET-2000 had been revolutionary in its energy-absorbing design, since previous designs had either been blunt or were made to act as a ramp and flip a vehicle. However, the ET-Plus does not perform the same way as the ET-2000. A simple change – such as the height of the slot on Trinity’s end terminals – has made all the difference. The seemingly small detail was enough for Nevada to end the use of the ET-Plus in the state in January 2014. Now, more state highway officials are beginning to subject the performance of the guardrails and the end terminals to review.
If you or a loved one has suffered in an accident involving a guardrail, Coffey Trial Law is here to help! Contact our Florida guardrail attorneys today for a free initial consultation.
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