ST. CHARLES COUNTY (KMOV.com) – A certain guardrail design used across Missouri may be banned soon because of the safety dangers they impose.
The design of the guardrail is such that when a vehicle hits head-on, the end terminals move to slow the vehicle down. Recent evidence may indicate that the guardrails are causing more injuries.
“From evidence we have, they are not operating as they are intended to operate. So we have determined the best thing to [do] … is to stop using them,” said Tom Blair of the Missouri Department of Transportation.
The end terminals are manufactured by a Texas company called ET Plus. According to several lawsuits, the end terminals are to blame for five deaths and several injuries in at least 14 accidents across the country.
While attorneys argue whether the end terminals are safe or not, MoDOT said they will replace any ET Plus unit that is damaged. An end terminal from a different manufacturer will be used as a replacement. MoDOT still needs to account for the number of ET Plus end terminals that need to be replaced.
“We have 33,000 miles of highway … [and] … lots of miles of guardrails,” said Blair.
A MoDOT spokesperson in Jefferson City said perhaps 21,000 ET Plus guardrails need to be replaced. However, that is only an estimate.
It is too early to determine whether the ET Plus guardrails will be recalled, meaning it is unknown who will pay for the replacement guardrails.