Investigation: Guardrails Allegedly Tied to Gruesome Crashes, Death

Brian Ross examines quietly made design change in guardrails.
2:14 | 09/19/14

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Transcript for Investigation: Guardrails Allegedly Tied to Gruesome Crashes, Death
out. And to an ABC news investigation. Is there something on the highway that's been changed? Tonight, our investigation into guardrails. A lawsuit, hundreds of thousands of them being found across the county could be deadly. Brian Ross has what's been changed and the pictures tonight. Reporter: Around the country, guard rails meant to protect, doing just the opposite. I'm going to die. Reporter: A North Carolina motorist hit a guard rail head-on. The long steel rail sliced through the SUV and the driver like a spear. I've lost my legs in a wreck. You're saying you lost both legs, sir? Yeah. Reporter: It wasn't supposed to happen. This test film from 15 years ago shows how an ingenious design is supposed to allow the head of the guardrail to absorb the impact, and deflect and peel the rail off to the side. But in a recent rash of accidents, the guardrail has, instead, pierced right through cars and trucks, slashing through anyone inside. Rebecca dryer lost her right leg. It essentially was a spear that came through my car. Reporter: And now victims are suing the manufacturer, Trinity industries of Texas. The victims' lawyers claiming the company made some slight changes, just an inch here and there, that saved a few dollars but also created a dangerous flaw. And that makes a significant difference. It makes all the difference in the world. Reporter: This animation shows what lawyers suing the company say can happen now with the modified version. But despite growing evidence of gruesome accidents, the federal highway official in charge says it meets safety standards. Why did you make that decision? Based on the evidence presented to us. Reporter: And you now think it's safe? Ask my office. Reporter: And you can't answer the question? Safety is relative matter. Reporter: Officials tell ABC news this week that a nationwide review of all guardrails will

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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