Court Finds Ford CVPI Advertising Deceptive and Misleading
An Illinois court has ruled that Ford’s advertising of its CVPI was “deceptive and misleading,” and imposed judicial sanctions against Ford for its misconduct. In September of last year, Ford mailed a nationwide brochure to all CVPI users claiming that its CVPI had been successfully crash tested at 75 mph with a controversial “trunk pack” installed in the vehicle.
Bladder Tank and Fire Shield Prevent Fire in High Speed Crash Test
Class Plaintiffs Demand Ford Adopt Safety Modifications
A specially modified Ford Crown Victoria police cruiser equipped with a fuel tank liner and a fire suppressing shield successfully withstood an 82 miles per hour crash in a test conducted by a military testing facility this summer. The metal Ford fuel tank suffered major punctures from the crash, but the combination of a Fuel Safe bladder and a FIRE Panel shield prevented the tank from leaking and igniting.
Class action plaintiffs’ attorneys David Perry, Corpus Christi, TX, and Pat McGroder, Phoenix, AZ, released the results of the crash test Sept. 4 at a news conference in Washington DC in which victims’ families called on Ford to act immediately to adopt the proven life-saving technology.
Perry and McGroder, who have been representing the families of dead and severely injured police officers in these cases for years, are leading a national effort to get Ford to redesign or modify the cruisers to make them safer in high-speed rear-end crashes.
The crash test was conducted by Goodrich Aerospace at its Hurricane Mesa Test Track, a military testing center in Hurricane, Utah, at the request of FIRE Panel LLC, Scottsdale, AZ.
In order to simulate a real world experience, the crash test used gasoline instead of a non-flammable substitute normally used in crash tests done by the auto industry, according to Bill Eckholm president of FIRE Panel.
First, the crash test vehicle was modified by the addition of the Fuel Safe bladder. This bladder, made out of a substance much like a swimming pool liner, is placed inside the tank. If the fuel tank is punctured in a crash, the liner adds a significant layer of protection. The cruiser also was equipped with a FIRE Panel, which is a plastic panel filled with a fire retardant powder that lies between the fuel tank and the rear axle. In a rear-end crash, the impact would first break the panel, releasing the powder and preventing a fire even if the liner is punctured.
The crash test involved placing the modified police cruiser at the end of a test track. Using a pusher/rocket sled, engineers crashed a 1970 Ford F-100 pickup truck weighing more than 4,000 pounds into the rear of the police vehicle. The pickup hit the modified cruiser at 81.9 miles per hour. The entire crash sequence was filmed by a series of cameras to create a detailed record of the event. The impact caused extreme damage to the rear of the police car, but no fire.
The FIRE Panel has its origins in advanced military technology to protect fuel tanks on helicopters and other aircraft. The Fuel Safe company has provided bladders to the racing car industry for many years, including Ford for its production vehicles.
“This and other technology has been available to Ford for years. Since May, fuel-fed fire deaths or injuries to police officers have occurred at the rate of one per month. This must stop. We are here today to demand that Ford recall the Crown Victoria police cruiser and begin installing available technology for the protection of law officers,” Perry said at the news conference.
Perry filed a class action lawsuit against Ford on July 3 on behalf of Nueces County, TX, and all other Texas municipalities to force Ford to notify law enforcement agencies of the danger of fuel-fed fires in Crown Victoria police cars.