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Guardrail design may be deadly

| Mar 22, 2015 | Motor Vehicle Accident

Guardrails are devices designed to keep people and vehicles from unintentionally straying off into hazardous off-road areas. However, some guardrails in Illinois produced by Trinity Highway Products may cause more harm than they are supposed to and require injured victims to work with a Chicago wrongful death lawyer.

For example, according to ABC 7, in 2013, a man in Illinois was driving when his car slammed into a guardrail. Instead of crumpling upon impact like it was supposed to, the guardrail impaled the driver’s side door and cut the man’s stomach open. Later, a federal jury in Texas found Trinity Highway Products liable for creating guardrails using a modified ET-Plus system and failing to notify the Federal Highway Administration.

An undisclosed version

According to the Claims Journal, this dangerous guardrail system has been linked to eight different deaths. Earlier this year, the FHWA reported to U.S. lawmakers that they would consider requiring additional crash tests on the ET-Plus system if it found that the most recent version was unsafe. Additionally, one lawmaker from Connecticut has partnered with the FHWA to determine whether the guardrail company quietly changed the dimensions of its system.

If Trinity Highway Products did adjust its system again, this revision would represent the company’s third modification of the ET-Plus system since it was first implemented in 2000. Although the company already admitted that they failed to tell the FHWA about changes they made to the second system, they have not yet claimed that the second version of the system created unnecessary dangers that may prompt victims to work with a Chicago wrongful death lawyer.

New crash tests were performed

To account for these vulnerabilities, the FHWA approved Trinity Highway Product’s plan to run new crash tests on the second ET-Plus system in November of 2014. These tests were scheduled to be finished in January of this year.

Although these crash tests are designed to detect safety issues with this guardrail system and prevent any more fatalities among drivers and passengers, some lawmakers claimed that these tests were not sufficient. To make sure that these systems are safe, the Senate’s chairman of the Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security will continue to urge the FHWA to perform more testing. If a third version of the system is detected, he will also push for safety testing to be conducted.

Those who lose a loved one in an accident involving a hazardous guardrail or in another situation may desire to seek justice for what happened. When this occurs, the family members of the person who was wrongfully killed may benefit from working with a Chicago wrongful death lawyer.