The Safety Institute has responded to the Federal Highway Administration’s analysis of the ET-Plus energy-absorbing end terminal crash tests conducted by the Southwest Research Institute in December and January.
Specifically, TSI is raising concerns about the FHWA’s analysis of the final test. According to a video of the crash, after the test vehicle strikes the guardrail end terminal, the W-beam becomes hung up in the chute as the vehicle begins to yaw. The rail ceases to extrude, allowing it to fold into a spear that is directed into the driver’s side door, penetrating the occupant compartment of the test vehicle. This bears a striking resemblance to real-world field performance failures that have been causing severe injuries and deaths. Nonetheless, FHWA has given the device a PASS. We are submitting our letter to the FHWA’s open docket, as well as members of Congress, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and state Department of Transportation. You can read the letter here.