Ford: courtroom engineering not the answer
John Jablonski Sr. and his wife, Dora, were involved in a tragic accident caused by a negligent driver, searching for her sunglasses and plowing into a stationary Town Car at 65 m.p.h.
Ford is committed to making a safe car even safer, but courtroom
engineering is not the answer. Plaintiffs' attorneys were asking for
a vehicle that's never been designed by a car company anywhere in the
world - a car that is guaranteed to eliminate all risk of fuel leakage in such high-speed collisions.
The Town Car has earned the government's 5-Star crash rating, the
highest vehicle crashworthiness rating possible. Unfortunately, Ford
was not allowed to present this evidence to the jury. Further, it
even exceeds the next-generation of fuel system standards, which are
first applicable to the 2007 model year. Again, Ford was not allowed
to present this evidence to the jury either.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted an
investigation of the Town Car and its sister vehicles - the Ford Crown Victoria and the Mercury Grand Marquis - and closed its investigation without finding any safety defect or ordering a recall.
State and federal accident data show that the rate of fires following high-speed rear collisions involving the Town Car is comparable to other make and model vehicles, including those with the same or alternative fuel tank locations. The Lincoln Town Car is designed to be safe and luxurious and it exceeds existing safety regulations.
The Town Car provides body-on-frame construction, rear-wheel drive and a live-rear axle - features highly valued by Town Car customers.
Further, the court changed Illinois law-after the fact, by ruling that Ford should have sent a warning, about the possibility of an event that had never happened before in a Town Car, to the current owner of a used vehicle 10+ years after Ford first sold the car. The court's creation of new law creates an impossible standard to implement, and again demonstrates the need for tort reform in Madison County, Illinois.
While Ford recognizes that some courts sympathize with
injured plaintiffs at the expense of out-of-state corporate
defendants, it is important to apply the law as developed and created.