Nebraska officials say they will continue using a highway guardrail system that has been the focus of safety concerns until the Federal Highway Administration says it shouldn’t.
The Lincoln Journal Star reports Trinity Industries’ ET-Plus guardrail system has been used in Nebraska since 2005 mostly on interstates and freeways.
In the last five years, there have been 107 accidents involving ET-Plus guardrails and three deaths in Nebraska, but the state Roads Department has no evidence the system malfunctioned.
A Texas jury issued a $175 million award in a lawsuit brought by a Trinity competitor and whistleblower who charged that end caps on the Trinity ET-Plus guardrails can malfunction and pierce a vehicle.
Trinity disputes the ruling and plans to appeal. And federal safety experts are retesting the system.
Jim Knott, with the Nebraska Department of Roads, said the state is waiting to hear what the federal safety experts determine.
“They are the experts in the field,” said Knott, who is the state’s roadway design engineer. “But we haven’t seen anything in Nebraska that we have a problem with ET-Plus, but we’re monitoring the situation.”
Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, Oregon, Virginia, Vermont, Hawaii, Colorado, Connecticut, Arizona and Louisiana all banned the ET-Plus guardrail system.
And the company announced that it will stop selling the ET-Plus system until testing is complete.
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