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States Begin to Ban Deadly Guardrails

Guardrails are strong barriers installed at the side of a road or in the middle of a highway which are intended to reduce the risk of serious accidents. If a vehicle hits it, the rail absorbs the impact of the collision and slows the vehicle down. But there have been multiple reports of incidents where the guardrails, when hit, impale the occupants of the car, and have been blamed for killing at least five people and causing serious and sever injuries in multiple other victims.

According to reports, when the defective guardrails are hit, the head of the guardrail malfunctions and acts like a spear. Many safety officials say the reason for the malfunction is because of a change in design the manufacturer, Trinity Highway Products, made. In the original design, which was the one approved by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the guardrail head was five inches wide. However, in 2005, Trinity shortened the width to four inches and made the feed narrower. Safety experts say it is this change in design that causes the guardrails to become deadly when hit. To compound matters, Trinity didn’t inform the FHWA of the change in design until seven years later.


Several of the victims have been from North Carolina, including a 36 year-old Graham man who was driving his SUV on Interstate 40 and veered into a guardrail. Instead of cushioning the impact, the guardrail severed through the SUV floor panel and sliced off the victim’s right leg, just barely missing his torso before it stopped in the backseat of the vehicle. The victim was also forced to have his left leg amputated because of the extensive damage the crash had caused.

Some states have already banned the installation of any more of the Trinity guardrails. Many victims and their families have filed lawsuits against the manufacturer. If you or a family member has been injured in a defective guardrail accident, contact an experienced North Carolina personal injury attorney today to find out what compensation you may be entitled to for pain and loss.  

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