The 2020 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor Utilityhas been made safer than ever in order to reduce the risk of police officers being injured by rear-end collisions.
The Detroit Free Press reports that state troopers throughout the United States are frequently rear-ended when they have pulled over to the side of the road conducting traffic stops or investigating accidents.
Other vehicles must meet impact safety standards of 50 mph (80 km/h) for rear-end protection. The new Explorer Police Interceptor Utility, however, is the only one that provides rear-impact protection at up to 75 mph (120 km/h).
Making the Explorer Police Interceptor Utility so safe is an X-shaped metal brace in the floor and a new-for-2020MY ladder-like steel safety frame at the rear of all Explorers delivered to police forces.
“These pieces together are primary bracing we use to handle the absorption for the 75-mile per hour rear impact,” Ford’s lead engineer Bill Gubing said about the bracing.
“Those are high-strength steel tubes. We put a layer of reinforcement between the floor pan and the seating surfaces. It holds both sides of the car together, so it can’t break apart. The structure stays intact and strong, allowing less crush. It takes all of the energy from the object hitting the back of the police car and disperses it throughout the entire structure.”
According to Michigan State Police 1st Lt. Mike Shaw, it’s not a matter of if, but rather when officers in the force will be rear-ended when they pull aside.
“I know a trooper who has been hit more than 10 times… People just aren’t paying attention out there, and sometimes they’re impaired with alcohol or marijuana or even their cellphones. Maybe they’re just gawking. And our troopers are getting hit.”
In designing its police vehicles, Ford works alongside authorities to make sure everything is perfect. For example, the doors on the Blue Oval’s police vehicles need to be modified so officers can easily reach the handles when they’re buckled in and wearing a bulletproof vest, while the trunk can only be opened when the ignition is on.