In recent months, the guardrails on Tennessee highways have become the focus of a 663 million dollar lawsuit. Whistle-blower Joshua Harman has demanded that the ET-Plus guardrails, which have been modified for safety, be recalled immediately.
According to Harman (a former guardrail engineer), Trinity Industries, Inc. did not communicate with federal and state officials that changes to their guardrail design had led to fatalities across the country.
Tests show that even though the modified guardrail design are supposed to slow down vehicles, they are breaking into pieces, which has led to impalements or caused cars to flip upon impact. There have reportedly been hundreds of deaths across the nation because of these defective guardrails.
The Tennessee Department of Safety records show that at least 26 people have died from accidents involving guardrails; however, their data doesn’t specifically state if these were ET-Plus guardrails. Nevertheless, Harman told the media “there’s tens of thousands of (ET-Plus guardrails) in the state of Tennessee,” and to “ignore that problem – it’s unacceptable.”
Despite the recorded deaths, the existing guardrails will not be affected by the lawsuit because after being re-tested for crash safety, they met the safety criteria, according to Mark Nagi, a TDOT spokesperson.
“Based on the crash testing, the installed products in Tennessee are performing their intended purpose as a safety device,” Nagi said, though he did acknowledge that there is a problem with the guardrails. “We are not allowing installation of the Trinity ET-Plus end terminals at this time.”
Harman, of course, feels differently. “It doesn’t cost the taxpayers any money,” he said. “[Trinity Industries] have the responsibility to replace these. For the safety of your family and mine.”
Trinity Industries intends to appeal the decision.
You should never have to worry about whether you or a loved one could be hurt by something that is supposed to provide protection. If you or a loved one are harmed by a defective product, please submit details about your case to a Tennessee product liability and personal injury attorneys at Gilreath & Associates today for a free consultation.