Officials release final guardrail test results

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) says guardrails that have come under fire for their safety in recent months have passed every test.

The announcement came during a Friday morning conference call. It has been a good week for Trinity Industries, the manufacturer of the E-T Plus System. Wednesday, a task force cleared up a lot of questions about whether the company had fixed the tests 10 On Your Side has been closely monitoring. They confirmed the products being tested are representative of what’s been installed on our roadways.

The latest results come from analysis of four crash tests recently conducted on the Trinity ET-Plus guardrail end terminal, at a height of 31 inches.  The final test seemingly caused the most concern. Trinity released this letter today that was sent to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and state departments of transportation regarding questions about that assessment. It explains why the eighth crash test passed. This is an excerpt of the letter.

The purpose of guardrail end-terminals is not to prevent damage to the outside of the car, but to reduce the risk of serious injury or death to the occupants inside the car…. The guardrail and test article debris did not penetrate the vehicle. No part of the guardrail entered into the passenger compartment. There was no “spearing.” … In the opinion of multiple independent experts there was no indication of risk of serious or life threatening injuries to vehicle occupants due to deformation to the vehicle.

Here are statements from VDOT, FHWA and Trinity Industries regarding today’s announcement:

“VDOT needs to review all data from all eight crash tests before making any determinations on the modified ET-Plus. This could take several weeks. VDOT still has ET-Plus replacement contracts out for bid and available depending on that determination,” explained Marshall Herman with VDOT.

Jeff Eller with Trinity Industries told, “The ET Plus® System has been successfully crash tested more times than any product of its kind.  It has an unbroken chain of eligibility for federal-aid reimbursement from the FHWA.”

10 On Your Side’s Anita Blanton will have a full report tonight at 5 p.m.

Additional Resources:

Reviews and analyses by FHWA, SwRI and Dr. Clay Gabler:

Information on the ET Plus System:


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