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Published in 2004


Safety Standards Failure to Reveal Defects in Police Vehicles Fuel System Crash Worthiness. Proceeding of The CRASH 2004 Conference, San Francisco, CA, July 14-16, 2004. Arndt, Mark W.

fuel tank placement

United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 301 (FMVSS301) dictates motor vehicle fuel system integrity minimum performance. Ford Motor Company’s (Ford) Crown Victoria Police Interceptor (CVPI), the most popular police car in the United States, meets the performance criteria of FMVSS301 and appears to meet the proposed updated rear impact test requirements. Ford’s CVPI also passed the criteria dictated by the USDOT New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), a program that tests vehicles at speeds higher than the FMVSS. The CVPI performance in standard testing and assessments is contrasted to the CVPI’s real world performance in which a series of highly publicized crashes resulted in punctures of the fuel tank and burn injuries and burn deaths and to police officers. Evaluations of real world crashes reveal vehicle defects that are addressed in part by Ford through a variety of remedial design related mechanism including service bulletins, retrofits, design changes and accessory safety equipment. High-speed 50% offset 75 mph car-to-car crash tests, test and analysis at crash severity well in excess of government safety standards, are conducted to validate and evaluate potential remedies of the vehicle’s defects. The method and analysis employed to identify problems with the CVPI fuel containment system is presented. The results of testing used in the identification of fuel tank problems, evaluation of equipment and validation of remedial fuel system improvements is presented. Standardized testing used in assessing fuel system performance of the Ford CVPI police car is identified as an incomplete indicator of the fuel system’s actual crash performance. (You may also view the police cruiser collision video test.)


Force Response During Tire Tread Detachment Event, Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc., Paper No. 2004-01-1075, International SAE 2004 World Congress, Detroit, Michigan, March 8-11, 2004. Arndt, Mark W., Rosenfield, Michael J., Arndt, Stephen M., and Stevens, Don C.

tire faillure still image

A series of tests were conducted utilizing a tire test machine built to measure forces during a tire tread separation event. Tires were prepared by cutting between the two steel belts inward from the shoulder area. Cuts were varied in size and location to generate different types of tread separation events (ex: long, short, partial, inboard, and outboard). The tests document the longitudinal and lateral forces generated while the tread is detaching during different types of tread separation events. The results demonstrate that magnitude and duration of forces depend upon the nature of the tread separation event. Additional documentation includes high-speed and real-time video of the tread separation events to provide insights into tread detachment modes and mechanisms of measured force response. (You may also view the video of the tread detachment test.)





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