Crash barriers are designed to protect vehicles from leaving the road and entering oncoming traffic, colliding with obstacles and putting members of the public at risk. Each system needs to be tested carefully before it can be installed in any setting, whether it is a motorway, a car park or a warehouse. Only systems that can deliver the maximum safety and meet the required standards can be used.
A landmark case in the US was settled in June after a federal judge in Texas ruled that Trinity Industries Inc, the designers of the ET-Plus System for barrier ends, had failed to tell the Government that changes had been made to the design. The judge ultimately fined the company a total of $663.4 million for defrauding the Federal Highways Agency after reviewing the evidence.
It was found that the company did not disclose the changes that had been made to the design of ET-Plus. They also failed to test the system appropriately before introducing it. The changes to the design involved the removal of a one inch piece of metal from the barrier end. This change made a crucial safety feature inoperable and meant the barrier end could actually spear the vehicle and cause injury to the driver or inhabitants. In fact the newer version was found to be three times more likely to cause a fatality than the older one.
The fine included $138 million for falsely claiming that the ET-Plus barrier ends were approved for federal reimbursement. It was found that Trinity Industries Inc has falsely certified their product 16,771 times. This works out at a $8,250 fine per violation.
The case sent reverberations through the industry and showed how essential it is that manufacturers disclose the details of product designs and ensure they are tested properly. This is required even if the changes to the design are only small.
At Cenpart we take safety very seriously and ensure that all our motorway barriers and other products meet the required British Standards, including BS 6180:2011 and part one of BS 6399. Our crash barriers are used in many motorway and non-motorway settings and will provide a great level of protection. We have years of experience and will support our clients throughout the project, including in the design of a system and the installation. Please contact us for more information.