During its national conference in Providence, R.I., this week, the Fraternal Order of Police called for a moratorium on the purchase of Ford Crown Victoria police cars, citing concerns about gas-tank fires in high-speed rear-end collisions, the Providence Journal reports.
Yesterday, Ford announced that it will offer fire-suppression technology on its police cars, beginning with 2005 models. National FOP President Chuck Canterbury called for the company to do more, saying Ford needs to protect the thousands of officers already driving Crown Victorias.
“Be socially responsible and do something about the ones that are out there already,” Canterbury said. “Protect the lives of the people who are protecting their lives.”
About 85 percent of U.S. police cars are Crown Victorias, and in the past decade, 14 officers have died in crashes when Crown Victoria gas tanks ignited in rear-end collisions, according to Ford. The crashes prompted lawsuits and a federal investigation.
Calling those deaths “very unfortunate,” Ford spokeswoman Meera Kumar said the Crown Victoria “is a car that is very safe, but nothing is perfect.” She added, “Often, these are crashes at 100 mph. And when there’s a combination of energy, fuel and oxygen, it causes a fire. It’s basic high school physics. Nothing is indestructible.”