(Adds background on safety concerns, jury award)
WASHINGTON, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Trinity Industries’ ET-Plus guardrail system has passed crash tests conducted after concerns were raised about its safety, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration said on Friday.
The agency said in a statement the guardrail’s end terminal underwent four crash tests and an analysis of those concluded that it met the crash tests’ criteria.
Several states have banned the guardrail and a jury handed down a $175 million verdict against the company last October over suspected design flaws in the safety system.
Jurors found Trinity liable for having failed to tell the FHWA about changes it made in 2005 to the end terminals, which are found at the ends of guardrails.
Safety advocates say the guardrails could pierce crashing vehicles rather than absorb their impact, putting occupants at risk of death or serious injury.
Trinity stopped shipping the guardrail system in October after the agency demanded that crash tests be conducted.
The four tests, conducted by the Southwest Research Institute, were conducted with the guardrail’s end terminal at a height of 27-3/4 inches.
The institute also conducted tests of the end terminals at a height of 31 inches and the agency said it expects to release the results of those four tests in the coming weeks. (Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Susan Heavey)