Ford plans to offer a fire-suppression system originally developed for military vehicles on its 2005 Crown Victoria Police Interceptors. In response to complaints of rear-impact car collisions causing fuel-tank fires in Ford police cruisers, the company has pledged to correct the problem with this most recent development.

The system uses advanced electronics and on-board sensors to determine when to deploy fire suppression chemicals into the trunk of the car following a rear-end collision. Ford says the chemicals push fire away from the vehicle, extinguish flames, and form a blanket over any leaked fuel.

The fire-suppression unit would be mounted inside the trunk, near the spare tire. Four nozzles would be mounted underneath the car to distribute the chemicals when needed. Ford says it does not know how much the system will cost.

Some police departments criticize the fact that the safety system will only be offered as an option on 2005 vehicles, not a standard feature. Also, many want cruisers on the street right now to be retrofitted.

Ford says it would be too difficult and costly to install the new system on existing vehicles because it would involve reworking the vehicle’s electronic and diagnostic structures.

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