Across any Missouri highway, you’re likely to see those metal guardrails protecting vehicles from going over steep cliffs in the event of a car accident. However, the thought of a car striking the butt end of a guardrail at 70 mph, and causing the steel to penetrate the cabin of the car is downright horrifying.
Fortunately, the Guardrail End Terminals like the ET-Plus Guardrail End Terminal are there to protect that from happening…Well… they’re supposed to, anyway.
The fact is, the ET-Plus isn’t working.
Instead, when hit with the force of a car, it causes the guardrail to bend, effectively folding itself into a spear headed right for the interior of the vehicle. Turning already hazardous car crashes into impalement fatalities.
What the Guardrail End Terminal is Supposed to Do
To understand the role of the guardrail in these serious car accidents, it’s important to understand what a Guardrail End Terminal supposed to do. Those black and yellow striped rectangles at the front end of roadside guardrails are there to do a couple of things.
First, the bright colors help make the beginning of the guardrails easy for drivers to see. Second, the guardrail end terminal is designed to absorb the energy of the crash, slowing the vehicle before the guardrail enters the cabin and potentially causing fatal impalement injuries.
You can see it working properly from a few angles in the video below:
The original design is what some call “ingenious.” It has saved numerous lives, allowing people to walk away from accidents that should have been fatal.
However, the ET-Plus guardrail terminal is not working properly, essentially, the ET-Plus Terminal causes the guardrail to fold, turning it into a spear, and causing catastrophic impalement injuries and fatalities.
Guardrail Impalement Accidents
The ET-Plus Guardrail Terminal is failing all across the country. Accidents have been reported in Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Illinois. Across the U.S. Guardrails are buckling – impaling drivers with the very guardrails that were designed to protect them.
In June of 2013, firefighters extricated a man from mangled wreckage on Highway 41 in Gurnee, Illinois. Twenty-two year old Tim Benson survived the crash by a miracle.
A the 22-year-old’s vehicle hit the guardrail on the side of the road, the terminal locked, causing his car to flip around, and sending the guardrail through the driver side door. The personal injury attorney working on the case described the driver as being “essentially cut in two” by the accident.
By some miracle, Tim Benson, survived the horrific accident. Most are not so lucky.
In Germantown, Wisconsin, 42-year-old Elizabeth Elsevier was killed after her hydroplaning car hit a guardrail that was equipped with an ET-Plus End Terminal. the terminal failed, and the energy of the accident flipped her car, killing her on impact.
Recent Crash Tests
Trinity, the manufacturer of the ET-Plus Guardrail, claimed that its product passed eight crash tests conducted in cooperation with its ongoing investigation. Government officials have not yet confirmed that claim.
However, the vehicles used int he eight successful crash tests, were driven head-on into the ET-Plus. The terminal works perfectly when the angle of the vehicle is perfectly centered upon the guardrail. As one personal injury attorney states, that is not likely to happen in a real-world scenario.
Critics are now calling for Trinity to conduct tests of their ET-Plus Guardrail at low angles. Trinity continues to refuse to conduct such testing, and the government has not required them to do so.
Guardrail Crashes – Fatalities Likely
Some people, like in the case of Tim Benson, will miraculously survive crashes that involve an ET-Plus guardrail. Benson was seriously injured in his car accident, but was able to leave the scene of the crash with his life. Most are not so lucky.
If you have experienced the loss of a loved one, and you believe that their fatal injuries were due to a faulty guardrail, contact Schultz & Myers Personal Injury Lawyers immediately. We understand that it is difficult to think about litigation during this difficult time, so we offer our confidential consultations completely free of charge to anyone who calls our office. The financial risk is on us: if we do not win your case, we don’t see a dime.