Ford Roof Crush Documents, Ford Rollover Documents Update:

Ford argues release of documents would uncover important proprietary information.

‘Roof crush’ data may go public
Ford argues release of documents would uncover important proprietary information.

A Michigan judge said Thursday he will decide in the next few months whether to make public internal documents from Ford Motor Co. and its Volvo subsidiary that have been used in several rollover “roof crush”

lawsuits. The documents show Volvo engineers determined that roof strength is a key factor in passenger safety in rollover accidents, while Ford has taken the opposite view in court cases. Ford and other automakers are facing hundreds of lawsuits stemming from rollover accidents where vehicle roofs caved in. Some have resulted in large verdicts against Ford.

Some of the documents were posted on a federal Web site before being removed, while others have been obtained by The Detroit News and other media outlets from court files following lawsuits.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reviewing a proposed standard to require automakers to improve the strength of vehicle roofs to protect passengers who are in rollover accidents. That standard is not expected to be finalized until the end of the summer.

An attorney representing the family of Christine Glaeser, who died in a 2000 rollover accident in a Ford Explorer, said making the documents public could save lives.

“If the public was aware of the difference in positions between Ford and Volvo as it relates to safety, it would not be good PR,” Tyler said. “The roof crush standard is under review and there are proponents trying to get the federal government to make it a tougher standard to keep people better protected — and these documents could help make the case.”