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FHWA 05-15
Friday, February 6, 2015
Contact: Neil Gaffney
Tel.: (202) 366-0660

FHWA Releases Results and Analysis of the First Four Crash Tests of ET-Plus Guardrail End Terminals

WASHINGTON –Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) officials today released the results and an analysis of four crash tests recently conducted on the Trinity ET-Plus guardrail end terminal at a height of 27-¾ inches.

"Our top priority with the ET-Plus has been to protect travelers by using a data-driven approach to determine the crashworthiness of the device," said Acting FHWA Administrator Gregory Nadeau. "We've reviewed the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) testing facility's findings regarding the first four crash tests and those of Dr. H. Clay Gabler, a professor, researcher and expert at Virginia Tech who independently reviewed the test results. Based on these materials and our own independent assessment of the test results, we have concluded that the tests show that the ET-Plus end terminal at the height of 27-¾-inches meets the applicable crash test criteria as established by AASHTO."

The crash test results, as well as the reviews and analyses by FHWA, SwRI and Dr. Gabler, are available to the public on FHWA's website at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/guardrailsafety/. An independent review of SwRI's credentialing, processes, protocols and personnel by Dr. Gabler has also been posted on FHWA's website at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/guardrailsafety/.

"These crash tests are not the end of our work to determine the safety of this device," Nadeau added. "They are one of many projects we are working on to evaluate the safety of the ET-Plus." SwRI also conducted four tests of the ET-Plus guardrail end terminals at a guardrail height of 31 inches. FHWA expects to release the results and analysis for those four tests to the public in the coming weeks.

The agency's next steps are focused on answering additional questions that have been raised about the safety performance of the end terminal.

In January, FHWA and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) established two task forces to answer some of the additional questions. One task force is reviewing the device's dimensions, as well as measurement data collected by FHWA engineers on more than a thousand four-inch ET-Plus devices installed throughout the country. The other task force will determine if the device has potential vulnerabilities that could compromise its ability to perform as designed and will recommend whether additional testing of the ET-Plus is warranted.

"We've said from day one that, when it came to testing, we weren't going to do this one task, check a box and be done with it," Nadeau said. "The tests conducted by SwRI and the efforts of the joint task forces are major parts of an unprecedented, comprehensive and data-driven process underway by FHWA to evaluate the safety and performance of the ET-Plus."

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Page posted on February 6, 2015
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