Virginia Officials Require Strict Guardrail Endcap Crash Tests

Note: Allen and Allen is actively investigating cases involving injuries resulting from ET-Plus guardrail endcaps. If you or a loved one has been injured by a guardrail during an accident, you may need an attorney to represent your interests. Allen and Allen offers free consultations to potential cases. Call us at 866-388-1307.

The manufacturer accused of producing a faulty guardrail that can jam and spear through vehicles, will face more rigorous and strict testing of its guardrails by officials with the Commonwealth of Virginia. Trinity Industries’ ET-Plus  is designed to slide down the guardrail in the event of a head on collision, simultaneously absorbing the impact of the car while directing the deadly metal guardrail out to the side and away from the car.[1]

Accident victims who were injured when a guardrail impaled their vehicle sued Trinity Industries, alleging that the guardrail caps made by Trinity jam instead of slide, which prevents the guardrail from being safely directed away from the car and its occupants. Evidence showed that the company made design changes between the safety testing and production phases to decrease the diameter and strength of the sliding bracket on the endcap. Effectively, the victims argued that company allowed one product to go through and pass safety testing, and then installed a different one on roads all across the country.[2] Last fall a federal jury issued a $175 million dollar verdict against Trinity Industries, maker of the ET-Plus guardrail end terminal.[3]

Earlier this year, the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) announced that the ET-Plus had passed  eight crash tests, including one in which the guardrail bent and smashed in the driver-side door of the test vehicle.

Virginia officials have deemed these tests overseen by the FHA to be inadequate. They are proposing six more tests, including having vehicles hit Trinity’s ET-Plus guardrails at slight or “low” angles. These tests are typically part of newer federal safety standards and considered representative of most car accidents.

The tests are scheduled to begin this month.

About The Author: Jason Konvicka is a partner and trial attorney with Allen & Allen in Richmond, Virginia. During his 20+ year career, he has achieved numerous record-setting jury verdicts and substantial settlements on behalf of his clients. His practice focuses on medical malpractice, bus accidents and product liability personal injury cases. Outside of the courtroom, Jason is involved with the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and currently serves on its Board of Governors as Vice President.

[1] Click here for more information on how guardrails are supposed to absorb energy: