Millions of Florida drivers may be at risk because of faulty guardrails.
A new lawsuit against the state’s department of transportation makes that claim.
A company called Safety Research and Strategies filed the lawsuit.
It claims Florida’s Department of Transportation is illegally withholding over one thousand public documents.
“The people of Florida deserve to know whether or not the roads that they drive on are safe,” said plaintiff’s attorney Matt Gaetz who’s also a state representative.
At issue are guardrails produced by a company called Trinity Industries of Dallas, Texas.
In 2005, Trinity reduced its guardrails from 5 to 4 feet tall.
In 2012, a survey from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials linked the modified guardrails to severe crashes resulting in injuries and deaths.
And most recently in January, the Nevada Department of Transportation stopped approval of that guardrail equipment.
“When you shrink the height of a guardrail, you decrease its safety effectiveness,” said Gaetz. “And what I’d like to know is whether or not this risk was disclosed to the Florida Department of Transportation,” he said.
In February, Safety Research and Strategies requested over a thousand documents from FDOT about the guardrails, but has yet to receive them.
The lawsuit asks a judge to order FDOT to turn over the documents.
“Rather than producing them to people who want to see them, the department of transportation is allowing the manufacturers of the guardrails to be the arbiter of what public records are released,” said Gaetz.
An FDOT spokesman says the agency has not yet been served with tne new lawsuit.
As a result, he was unable to comment.
We also attempted to get comment from Trinity, so far without success.