Most people think little of all the safety features that adorn Kansas City streets and highways alike. One of the most prevent form of street safety are the barriers that split the opposite flowing traffic. These barriers range in size from one foot humps to 10 foot or more concrete dividers that completely separate the highways. These dividers and other safety features are so common place that many people forget about their intended function that is until a metal guardrail is all that keeps them from going over a dangerous drop or into oncoming traffic.
Questions are being raised over the effectiveness and even safety of a certain guardrail adorning many metro highways. The guardrail in question is the ET-plus which was at the center of a Texas case. Since the case the Federal Highway Administration has order the company to retest the railing to make sure it meets current safety standards. The question of safety case after the company changed the rail's design cutting over an inch of material form the rail. Those who question the railings safety say the change stops the railing from absorbing the impact instead turning the metal into a spear. The Missouri Department of Transportation and others within the state have stopped installing the railing. The Kansas Department of Transportation estimates there are upwards of 400 of the questionable end terminals already installed on its highways, with over 20,000 installed statewide.
Product liability and negligence can extend even to the makers of devices only used when the worst occurs. A Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission report found that car accidents which involved the ET-Plus guardrail have a higher percentage of fatalities than accidents involving other guardrail types. If the railing is found to be negligently made or designed the company may be facing more cases from the loved ones of those who died after colliding with their guardrails.
People rely on many things they pay no mind to on a daily basis, often time due to the innate faith they have in the product. When it comes to the roadways safety is always number one as safe drivers help prevent accidents and safe cars and roads help prevent more injuries.
Source: KCTV, "Questions raised about performance, safety of metro guardrails," Eric Chaloux, Nov. 16, 2014