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Products Liability > Ford Crown Victoria

The Ford Crown Victoria has come under scrutiny because of gas-tank fires and explosions with Crown Victoria police cruisers. There are about 350,000 Crown Victoria Police Interceptors on the road. An estimated 14 police officers nationwide have died in accidents allegedly where the car's gas tank exploded following high speed, rear-end crashes. Critics say the Crown Victoria's danger stems from the placement of its gas tank, which is between the rear bumper and the rear axle.
On September 27, 2002, Ford Motor Company and the Arizona Attorney General announced that the auto maker will install and pay for fuel-tank shields on Crown Victoria Interceptor police vehicles. During a press briefing, Arizona Attorney General Janet Napolitano said Ford will offer an upgrade kit, which will include the shields. The company also said it will offer an optional trunk package, which is designed to help police officers carry sharp-edged heavy equipment more safely.
All police department orders of Crown Victoria Police Interceptors will be built with the fuel-tank shields from today forward, Ford said. While pleased that Ford agreed to make the modifications, it was reported that the families of some victims said independent testing on the fix should be done. 
"We welcome Ford's efforts, but the consequences of an ineffective solution to this problem can be fatal. We cannot risk that," stated Ann Marie Nielsen in an Associated Press article. Her husband Robert Nielsen, a police officer in Chandler, Arizona, was killed on June 12, 2002, after his patrol car collided with another car and burst into flames.

No Program for Consumer and Taxi Fleet Ford Crown Victoria Models
The Ford Crown Victoria is a mainstay of taxi cab fleets and owned by many private individuals nationwide. The new fuel-tank shield program is only for police vehicles. Civilian owners of the Crown Victoria will not receive any safety upgrades from Ford free of charge.
In comments to the media, Joan Claybrook, president of the consumer group Public Citizen, said she would like to see more testing of the shields, particularly by an agency or group not funded by Ford. "There needs to be an independent crash test," said Claybrook, a former administrator at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "This is a complicated fix, and I just want to be sure this works." She also expressed concern that Ford was not adding shields to consumer versions of the car.

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Ford Crown Victoria
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