According to reporting from FoxSanAntonio.com, a local woman was killed in a tragic accident in rural Medina county. A witness at the scene of the crash stated that the accident was one of the worst he has ever seen. According to the early reporting, it appears that the woman’s car collided with a guardrail, resulting in a devastating blunt force impact. This is noteworthy because recently guardrails have been a major safety problem in South Texas. In fact, the company responsible for producing many Texas guardrails lost a major federal lawsuit in 2015. If you or a loved one has been injured in a guardrail related accident, please contact an experienced attorney for immediate legal assistance.
The Defective Guardrail Lawsuit
As was reported extensively in the New York Times, a federal judge in Texas imposed nearly $700 million in penalties against a guardrail manufacturer. The company, Trinity Industries, was accused of negligently producing defective guardrail products. When these guardrails were hit at a certain angle, they frequently jammed and speared through the vehicle involved in the accident. This creates an incredibly dangerous situation. In fact, the defective guardrails are even more dangerous than the absence of guardrails. This has been an issue in several different jurisdictions across the country, including in Texas. Manufacturers have a legal responsibility to ensure that their products do not present any unreasonable safety risks for consumers. Further, now that the guardrail issue is well known to state and local governments, these entities have an obligation to rectify guardrail safety issues. Unfortunately, it appears that the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDoT) may not be doing enough to protect the safety of the state’s drivers.
TXDoT and Defective Guardrails
When the Trinity Industries defective guardrail issue first became national news back in 2014, TXDoT responded to inquiries about guardrail safety by indicating that they were not sure how many of the state’s guardrails might have safety problems. After seeing this most recent heartbreaking accident in Medina County, there appears to be additional evidence to indicate that many dangerous and defective guardrails are still out there. Late last year KHOU.com released a worrying report that noted that many of the state’s guardrails had not been inspected by TXDot in recent years. Further, TXDoT has offered little to no transparency on this issue. This is extremely concerning in light of all the serious injuries that have been caused by defective guardrails. It is clear that the state of Texas needs to do more as these guardrails remain a serious safety hazard.