It does not feel good to hear such things but recent reports have found out that the guardrails installed on the sides of American roads do not meet the latest standards. They were installed after tests were conducted according to the old standards and when hit in certain accidents, they did not provide the type of safety that was expected from them. These statements were passed on by officials from the state and federal transportation. The report presented was prepared with joint efforts of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and The Federal Highway Administration.
These statements were passed on by officials from the state and federal transportation. The report presented was prepared with joint efforts of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and The Federal Highway Administration.
Officials Demand New Guardrail Strength Standards
The report had records of many accidents that showed clearly that in certain accidents the guardrails were not the safest bet. Officials taking part in the report analysis also suggested that the new standards should be met with tests that are stricter. It must also be mentioned here that in 2011 guidelines for guardrail testing were already updated with stricter aspects but states still had the autonomy to buy and install guardrails that only met the old standards. All the people from the field of law that are concerned about the safety of people have been against this allowance.
- The Criminal Investigation Against the Manufacturers/Contractors
The reports that were presented were focused more on the equipment prepared by a company called the Trinity Industries. Their ET Plus is the guardrail under a lot of criticism for its poor and threatening performance in certain types of accidents. The justice department is already busy in an investigation wherein the Federal Highway Administration was no informed by Trinity Industries about a change in its equipment.
The investigation against the company is being conducted within the perimeters of criminal investigation. Trinity has already been facing some really disfavoring circumstances because of a few negligent acts on its part. Trinity lost a case against Joshua Harman when a judge from Texas awarded the case to Trinity’s opposition with a huge $663 million.
The case filed against the company was on its conduct of not informing federal regulators about the alterations it was making in its renowned roadside equipment called the ET Plus. Trinity is seeking some help in this regard and has already filed an appeal. The case did not end well for Trinity as the judge found out that this type of attitude from the company was nothing but a fraud from company towards the government of the country.
Federal Highway Agency, after finding out about the conduct of Trinity, had called for information on the crashes that had taken place in the real world where the guardrails from Trinity were involved. The report was then sent to the federal officials on Friday but this report contained more information than required. It broadened the scope of scrutiny and in addition to ET Plus from Trinity, it also documented records on guardrails that had been put on the sides of the roads by other companies. The other big company on which the questions were raised in the report is named as Road Systems.
The vice president from Road Systems came forward and talked about the proceedings of the report. He admired the efforts of the organizations and individuals who collected the documents and evidences for the report. He said that it was a great step by the federal government to apply better and newer standards for the guardrails. However, he showed his concerned right away by saying that even the right equipment was not free from the faults of installation and the damages that could be caused by extreme weather and when equipment is not being maintained properly.
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Particular Guard Rail Systems
He further pointed out Sequential KinKing Terminal and said that this particular equipment was still under tests by the company. He said that the reports were scheduled to be submitted to the federal officials as soon as the tests were completed. The good thing for Trinity in the report was that it did not single them out. The report clearly showed the vulnerabilities were a part of the roadside safety systems provided by nearly all the companies. While it proved that all the different types of guardrails had their disadvantages, it was not asked in the report that the installed equipment be removed.
The lawyers are not happy about the decision that the old equipment should still stay on the sides of the road. The lawyers taking part in this case and other similar cases want the equipment installed on the roadsides straight away. Officials from the Trinity also came forward and gave kudos to the entities that prepared the report. However, their questioned guardrail system called the ET Plus is reliable according to them. On the other hand, an analysis based on 161 crashes proved that accidents taking place involving shallow angles and with side impacts were a proof of the equipment’s failure.
- The Shallow Angle Tests
It is important to mention here that shallow angle tests are not a strict part of the old standards under which the guardrails were installed before. However, accidents with the same shallow angles are a major part of the tests conducted according to the newest standards. Federal Highway Administration had already put the company through rigorous testing. The surprising part of this whole case was that the companies were still allowed to install the equipment that only met the old standards. The tests conducted by the company were announced as successful tests.
An executive from Federal Highway Administration, namely Jeffrey Paniati, stated clearly that the tests that are there for companies to pass through are still very effective. However, the agency is still interested in tests that ET Plus had already gone through. This time around, the agency has included the tests that involve side impacts and accidents with low angles.
How well everything goes will decide the fate of the nation. Lawyers are still persistent in asking for the installed equipment to be removed. There are several videos available online for public to see the effectiveness of the roadside safety they have to rely on during their daily driving.