Trinity Industries on Tuesday conducted the second of eight crash tests of a potentially dangerous guardrail system, as questions grew over whether some of the units being evaluated were different than those previously installed.
The testing in San Antonio, overseen by the Federal Highway Administration, continued Tuesday with a pickup driven squarely into one of the suspect guardrails, known as the ET-Plus, which is made by Trinity. Tony Furst, the federal agency’s associate administrator for safety, told reporters afterward that “there was nothing remarkable” about the results, which appeared to indicate the unit functioned normally.
Critics have said that crash tests should be done from an angle of about five degrees, instead of zero, which they say better represents the types of crashes in which the guardrail malfunctioned. Mr. Furst has said that the tests were instead intended to confirm results from 2005, and that further tests could come later.
Guardrail systems work by collapsing when hit from the front, absorbing the impact of the crash and pushing the metal rail away from the vehicle. Because of design changes introduced in 2005, but not reported to the federal government, Trinity’s ET-Plus can malfunction, sending the rail into a vehicle and potentially injuring occupants.
Other questions have been raised about the tests, including whether the guardrails have been modified a second time.
Joshua Harman, the federal whistle-blower who prevailed...