In December 2015, the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) announced an approved schedule for implementing roadside safety hardware devices, such as guardrail end terminals, on the National Highway System that meet new crash-testing standards.
In a press release, AASHTO executive director Bud Wright explained that the standard is intended to adapt to the changes on America’s roadways. “The nation’s motor vehicle fleet continues to evolve and our roadside hardware must keep pace,” he said. “Vehicles have increased in size and light-truck bumper heights are higher. It’s important that AASHTO and the transportation safety community support the design and manufacture of roadside devices that meet the safety needs of America’s changing vehicle fleet.”
The new standard – the AASHTO Manual for Assessment of Safety Hardware (or MASH) – has already been partially implemented and is expected to be fully implemented by the end of 2019. MASH updates the previous standard, referred to as NCHRP 350. As such, only end terminals evaluated using the new standard will be allowed for new installations and replacements. Many states are already moving to the new standard ahead of the sunset dates.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) developed the new safety standard and an implementation plan was jointly adopted by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).