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Dangerous Guardrails Line Houston Roads

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Brigitte Barrera3 years ago

An investigative report by Houston’s Local 2 News has found that controversial guardrails manufactured by Trinity Industries are prevalent on Houston streets.

About the Trinity Industries Guardrails

15 states, including Texas, have stopped installing Trinity’s ET-Plus model guardrails due to safety concerns, and Virginia has announced that all ET-Plus model guardrails will be removed.

Texas-based Trinity Industries has been involved in a lawsuit with competitor, Joshua Harman, regarding the safety of their ET-Plus model guardrails. Harman claims a design change made by Trinity is causing the guardrails to fail, resulting in severed limbs and even death.

Guardrails are meant to absorb impacts with the fronts of guardrails designed to disperse impact energy in the event of an accident and slow collisions between guardrails and vehicles.

In 2005, Trinity changed their guardrail design from a “4-inch” to a “5-inch”. After this change, guardrails began malfunctioning and impaling vehicles rather than absorbing impacts.

Trinity Loses Whistleblower Lawsuit

Two years ago on a central Texas highway, Shain Tucker died after being impaled in a collision with the guardrail. His wife, Lena Tucker, now says that “since then I've learned my husband should have probably walked away from that accident.”

Many other injuries and deaths across the U.S. have occurred because of the guardrail design change.

Whistleblower Harman won the lawsuit against Trinity; who is now facing charges of $525 million.

Trinity continues to claim that their products are safe and plan to appeal the court’s decision. James Mann, the corporation’s attorney, commented saying, “The product, according to the FHWA (Federal Highway Administration), the very organization that approves these for the road, has said they are safe for use by the public.”

The FHWA has ordered Trinity to conduct immediate safety tests regarding the modified ET-Plus guardrails.

Houston Highways Affected by the Guardrails

Local 2 Investigates and Harman mapped locations on some Houston highways where the modified ET-Plus guardrail is installed.

The dangerous ET-Plus guardrails can be found on many roadways in Houston, Texas including, but not limited to: 59 from beltway 8 to downtown, south loop, and the beltway north.


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