An Unusual About-Face by the NHTSA

If you drive an older Ford Crown Victoria or Mercury Grand Marquis, specifically a 2003-2005 model year car, we have news that could be important to you. In a rare shift of opinion, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is taking a fresh look at reported headlight failures in these cars.

The investigation is focusing on over a half-million sedans that might have malfunctioning headlights. Claims of problems were dismissed back in 2008, but now federal regulators are reopening the inquiry because of persisting reports of headlights shutting off with no warning. Drivers have reported running off the road and crashing because they can’t see where they’re going.

Some drivers’ accounts of their headlight failures stated that using their high beams via the “flash to pass” levers on the steering column made their lights go out as soon as they let go of the lever.

The NHTSA indicated that Ford received over 3,000 complaints about failing headlights for the cars in question. An additional 605 complaints, also for the 2003-2005 Ford Crown Victoria and Mercury Grand Marquis autos, were received by the government. A total of 15 crashes and one injury have been reported, including one driver hitting a deer after his headlights went out with no warning.

After the previous investigation, the NHTSA closed the matter because they did not find enough evidence of a defect. Back then, only about 300 complaints had been sent to Ford. But the agency decided to reopen the inquiry when the number of complaints reached ten times that amount.

In an emailed statement, a Ford spokeswoman indicated complete cooperation with the investigation.

The new investigation by the NHTSA into the headlight failures reportedly was brought about because of a petition they received last year from the North Carolina Consumers Council. Such NHTSA investigations often result in official recalls.

By the way, if you have concerns about recalls, the NHTSA has a relatively new recall search feature, helping you discover whether your vehicle, or a used vehicle you are thinking of buying, has an open recall on it. Use the new site to look up the vehicle in question by entering the Vehicle Identification Number, also known as the VIN. Remember, forewarned is forearmed.

Serving accident victims in Indiana since 1981.

At McNeely Stephenson, we have proven experience in helping people hurt in Indiana by defective automobiles. Very often the NHTSA becomes aware of a safety issue because of claims from consumers. If you have experienced a problem with a potentially dangerous, defective, or previously recalled motor vehicle or one of its components, such as the headlights as discussed in this article, contact Mike Stephenson at 1-317-825-5200 or contact us using our online form. Don’t lose the opportunity to obtain the money you need to put your life back on track and to make your family’s future financially secure. McNeely Stephenson. We believe justice matters.