By Ray Huard
June 4, 2004
Ford Motor Co. should pay punitive damages of $246 million in addition to nearly $123 million in compensatory damages to a Del Cerro woman paralyzed two years ago in a Ford Explorer rollover crash, a jury said yesterday.
June 3, 2004
FREE PRESS NEWS SERVICES
SAN DIEGO — A jury ordered Ford Motor Co. to pay at least $122 million to a woman paralyzed in a rollover accident, the first setback in a string of lawsuits involving the Ford Explorer, the nation’s best-selling sport-utility vehicle.
Ford previously won 11 rollover lawsuits involving the Explorer, a company spokeswoman said.
At least 10,000 people are killed or seriously injured each year due to weak roofs in rollover crashes. Rather than hire engineers to build strong roofs, auto companies hired lobbyists to weaken safety standards. These lobbyists got the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to weaken the roof strength standard (FMVSS 216) so much that roofs of SUVs will not support the vehicle’s weight when the windshield breaks in a rollover.