It is as if the City of Hamilton has been living in a cave. Throughout North America various news agencies have reported on the questionable performance of guardrail terminals. Gorski Consulting has posted examples of several incidents along Hamilton’s Red Hill Valley Parkway where guardrail terminals do not appear to be performing as they should. Local news media have reported¬† that there is a higher number of fatal collisions along the Red Hill Valley Parkway. Yet when a questionable incident occurs there is silence.

A photo was taken by John Rennison of the Hamilton Spectator Newspaper showing a vehicle struck in the driver’s door by a deformed guardrail. Text accompanying the photo indicated that the incident occurred on Hamilton’s Red Hill Valley Parkway near Barton Street, but there was no information about injuries. Yet clearly someone has missed the boat. Regardless of whether injuries occurred one only needs to look at the deformation of the guardrail and the damage to the car and, with very little research, learn that there could be a problem here.

As best can be determined from a single photo it appears that the vehicle slid sideways into the end of the guardrail .There is an ET-Plus terminal at the end of the guardrail. Although the image shows few details it appears that initial contact of the terminal was made at the driver’s door and then the system buckled. A small amount of the rail was squeezed through the terminal thus indicating that some degree of longitudinal force was applied to the terminal. The system is designed so that the pre-impact kinetic energy possessed by the vehicle is dissipated by squeezing and deforming the rail as it passes through the throat of the terminal. But clearly very little of that action occurred. Yet we see that the rail has buckled and its “spear” is ready to penetrate the vehicle’s interior via the driver’s door. This appears to be the classic malfunction that was reported by Mr. Jesse Harmon in his law suite against the terminal manufacturer Trinity Highway Products of Dallas Texas. But no one seems to recognize it. What if the vehicle had been travelling slightly faster and the spear harpooned the driver? Is that what would need to take place for someone to wake up and recognize the potential problem?

Incidents like this should be documented thoroughly and the reason for the apparent malfunction should be explained. They certainly should not be left as a passing thought on the back pages of any journalist’s report.