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Florida Lawmaker Calls For Safety Study On Highway Guardrails 13 States Have Banned

Daniel Oines via Flickr
Credit Daniel Oines via Flickr

A Florida lawmaker is warning the state’s highway guardrails may be unsafe. Hazard concerns and a lawsuit verdict have caused at least 13 other states to halt installation of a metal guardrail also used in Florida.

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A Texas jury last week found guardrail maker Trinity guilty of fraud for failing to notify the government it had changed a rail system’s design. The feds approve guardrails and reimburse states for installing them. As the New York Times first reported, more than a dozen pending lawsuits claim one model of Trinity rails has injured or killed passengers.

State Rep. Irv Slosberg (D-Boca Raton) says Florida should do an independent investigation.

“I’m just shocked they wouldn’t have any kind of engineering study to find out for themselves, because the buck should stop right here with our Florida Department of Transportation," he says. 

In an e-mail, Florida Department of Transportation spokesman Dick Kane says the state is monitoring the situation for further information and "will take appropriate action when necessary." Meanwhile, manufacturer Trinity announced Friday it was no longer selling the contested model. 

Copyright 2014 WFSU

Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP