Guardrail manufacturer halts sales of impaling terminals pending tests

The controversy over the ET-Plus guardrail end terminals has deepened as Texas-based Trinity Industries has now announced that it will stop selling the problematic roadway safety features.

For those just joining us, the issue revolves around a metal plate installed on guardrails by Trinity, the manufacturer found guilty of failing to notify federal authorities of a modification to its design. Several fatalities have been linked to the modified design, which has been known in some cases to impale drivers and vehicle occupants instead of protecting them. As a result of its secrecy, Trinity has been fined over half a billion dollars.

After the Federal Highway Administration ruled that the guardrail terminal needed to be tested further, ten states have banned installation of the ET-Plus components. Now another three states have outlawed the problematic guardrail as well, prompting Trinity to reverse its stance and cease sale of the ET-Plus and cancel outstanding orders for the same.

"The right things to do," Trinity's highway products chief Gregg Mitchell said to The New York Times, "is to stop shipping the product until the additional testing has been completed." Those states that have banned the ET-Plus terminals – now more than a third of those in the Union – are likewise awaiting the results of those FHA tests to determine whether they should continue using the components, which is ultimately each state's call.

Autoblog notes that as of this writing, Trinity still lists its ET-Plus components as being for sale on its website, which states: "The ET-Plus® is an NCHRP Report 350 Test Level 2 and Test Level 3 compliant cable anchored system and is acceptable for use on the National Highway System."

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