If you are a police officer or state trooper driving a Ford Crown Victoria pursuing another vehicle involved in a high-speed chase, you certainly would not want your steering column– which has already taken quite a beating—to be defective.
According to a recent New York Times article, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received three complaints of the Ford “police model” Crown Victoria’s steering column separating resulting in a loss of steering control to the vehicle.
Fortunately, the steering column separation incident occurred in each case at low speeds and the officers were able to bring their vehicles to a stop, but the government has also received 10 reports of the steering column being “about to” separate. While no crashes or injuries have been reported to date, an investigation by the NHTSA has commenced that will probably involve an approximately 195,000 vehicles.
For the fifteen years preceding 2011, the Ford Crown Victoria was the model of choice for police vehicles. Ford sold approximately 50,000 Crown Victorias for police use on average annually, and is believed to have controlled approximately 70 percent of the market for police cars. The Crown Victoria also was linked to fuel tank explosions that occurred in rear impact crashes – the fuel tank is located behind the rear axle, making it susceptible to puncture from a rear impact crash.
If after the investigation the NHTSA finds that there is an actual defect in the vehicles’ steering columns, the government will issue a recall announcement.
Police officers and state troopers certainly do not need any added risk to their already dangerous professions.
More recently, Ford has manufactured a police interceptor sedan, based on the Ford Taurus, for police use.