Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring sued Trinity Industries and Trinity Highway Products, LLC., on Thursday after the Texas-based company sold allegedly improperly tested and dangerous highway guardrails to the state.
The state alleges that beginning in 2000 the company made changes to the design of guardrail end caps, but failed to notify the commonwealth or the Federal Highway Administration.
"It is shocking that a company would think they could secretly modify a safety device in a way that may actually pose a threat to Virginia motorists," Herring said. "Trinity had an obligation to test and seek approval for its equipment, but instead, (it) sold the commonwealth thousands of unapproved products that had not been properly tested to ensure they would keep motorists safe."
The suit alleges that the modified equipment jams instead of giving way as it is meant to, which could cause damage to vehicles and endanger their occupents.
Herring said the Virginia Department of Transportation will identify and re-evaluate the safety of the end caps once they have the results of recent crash tests on the equipment. "If any replacements must occur, we're going to make sure that Trinity, not Virginia taxpayers, pay the bill," Herring said.