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Maker of Faulty Guardrails to Pay $663 Million

Erin King1 year ago

The maker of faulty guardrails used in Colorado and other parts of the U.S has recently been ordered to pay nearly $700 million dollars in damages after it was discovered that the guardrails were faulty.

Guardrail manufacturer Sued for 17,000 False Claims

The makers of a controversial guardrail system used in Colorado and other select places in the U.S have recently been court-ordered to pay millions in penalties and damages in relation to the fraud committed in a nearly decade-old modification to the system.  Victims of horrifying accidents involving the guardrails gave testimony during the trial against the makers.

According to ABC Channel 7 News (Denver), a court in Texas ruled against Trinity Highway Products and its parent company, Trinity Industries, in late 2014 after finding out that the company lied about a modification made to one of its guardrail systems. 

The company made false statements to government agents about the modification concerning its ET-Plus guardrails back in the year 2005.  At the time that the statements were discovered to be fraudulent, Trinity was ordered to pay $175 million dollars in damages, which was fully expected to triple down the line.

Eventually, the company was ordered to pay $8,250 dollars for every single one of the 17,000 false claims it made concerning the fraudulent guardrails – about $663 million in total.

About the Fatal Guardrail Modification

The infamous modification, which was featured in an episode of 20/20 back in late 2014, involved Trinity trimming an end piece of the guardrail terminal in 2005, shaving it down from 5 inches to 4 inches in an attempt to save the company about $50,000 dollars in costs. Multiple deaths have since been linked to the new gaurdrails.

However, the company failed to report the change to the necessary agents until 7 years after the fact, in 2012 – which was too late, considering the shaved guardrail had been installed on roads all across the nation.

Victims of accidents involving the guardrail claim that the shaved system malfunctions when a vehicle strikes it.  Instead of the terminal expanding to absorb the impact of a vehicle, sometimes the guardrail locks solidly in place, “spearing” through the vehicle and any occupants within the vehicle. 

Even so, Trinity continues to maintain that its guardrail systems are safe and meet the federal standards.  The company maintains that the guardrails passed safety tests as recently as January 2015.


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