FHWA-AASHTO guardrail report details performance issues

The U.S. Department of Transportation said on Friday that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) released a report on the efficacy of guardrail end terminals.

The report said the W-beam end terminals have been shown to have performance limitations in some installation and impact scenarios. The report studied 1,231 crashes that had involved guardrails, and of those, the task force focused on collisions that had resulted in serious injury or a fatality and those that were otherwise considered to be unusual.

Based on the results of the report, both groups issued recommendations to install enhanced guardrail terminals and to promote the proper installation and maintenance of roadside safety tools. They found that the implementation and maintenance practices played a role in how effective the guardrail terminals were in real-world applications. They also recommended the regular evaluation of performance and to expand documentation of crashes involving guardrails.
"This effort, the most thorough evaluation ever conducted of this particular roadside safety hardware, is one more step in a comprehensive approach by FHWA to protect drivers and their passengers,” FHWA Administrator Greg Nadeau said. “Now, after months and months of analysis, one thing is clear: We must fully implement the next-generation criteria as part of our roadside safety efforts.”

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U.S. Department of Transportation

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