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Faulty Guardrails Causing Accidents

Steve Wagner

Controversy is surrounding several of the guardrails on Indiana highways, and the debate has been going on for months, following a huge lawsuit and several injuries in other states. Back in November, a whistleblower revealed that Trinity Industries, the manufacturer of the guardrails, had changed the design without alerting roadway authorities, and that these design flaws were the reason for several car accidents in the previous year.

The Dallas-based Trinity respected the ruling of a Texas jury and paid $175 million in damages for failing to report the changes, and they have also stopped shipping these pieces out to all 50 states. While 30 states put a ban in place on these guardrails, the “net” ban is in effect because of the shipping halt. However, Indiana is not among the states that banned the guardrails, and therefore have not removed the ones that were already in place.

Stringent testing has been underway for the last several months, and although no accidents have been reported that were allegedly caused by the guardrails, INDOT officials are still working to uncover whether or not these guardrails are truly a danger, and if they need to be replaced.

The reports initially showed that because of the design changes, the ends of the guardrails did not function like previous models, and would act like a spear rather than a protective barrier. But because of the lack of incriminating evidence within our own state, the Federal Department of Transportation and INDOT have not yet ruled to remove the railings. They say they hope to have conclusive crash tests completed by the end of January, and a ruling will follow that.

Want to know about how guardrails work? Car and Driver magazine recently put together this article outlining the different types of guardrails and what happens during a crash.

Defective products cause accidents across our country at an alarming rate, and these guardrails are no different. Just because they haven’t caused an accident in our state yet, it seems we are ignoring the glaringly obvious fact that they ARE dangerous, and an accident will eventually happen as a result of their presence. If you’ve been involved in a car accident related to product liability, call Wagner Reese today to schedule a free consultation.


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