At the end of October, Louisiana joined the growing number of states that have banned any new installations of the ET-Plus highway guardrail.
The guardrail has been linked to numerous deaths since 2005, when a design change produced a deadly malfunction. According to numerous reports, the new design caused a piece of metal that normally crumples upon impact to instead pierce through the vehicle body, killing or gravely injuring car occupants.
A few days before Louisiana and many other states rushed to ban the guardrail, a federal court jury found that the manufacturer, Trinity Industries, had defrauded transportation regulators by changing a piece of the guardrail’s end cap without divulging that information for several years. The jury decided that Trinity Industries should pay at least $175 million. The Dallas Morning News reports that a judge could decide to triple that figure.
Trinity Industries stands by the safety of the product and plans to appeal the verdict, according to Bloomberg News.
While many states have already banned future installations of ET-Plus highway guardrail, Virginia has gone one step further, announcing plans to remove all of the defective end-caps from existing ET-Plus guardrails throughout the state.