Ford Authority

2002 Ford Super Duty Trucks Weren’t Required To Feature Stronger Roofs

As Ford Authority reported earlier this week, a court recently ordered Ford to pay $1.7 billion in punitive damages over an issue with the roof used on the 1999-2016 Ford Super Duty. This all stemmed from an accident in 2014, when a couple was killed after their 2002 Ford Super Duty rolled over, a tragedy that prompted that couple’s children to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the automaker, which resulted in a $24 million dollar payout. However, The Wall Street Journal is now reporting that the 2002 Ford Super Duty wasn’t required to have a stronger roof, as heavy-duty trucks were excluded from tougher requirements at that time.

The rules regulating roof strength on trucks were expanded 30 years ago to include light-duty trucks to better protect occupants in the event of a rollover crash, though many manufacturers – including Ford – lobbied against including heavy-duty trucks in those stiffer standards, noting that safety benefits for that type of vehicle were unclear.

In turn, the National Highway Safety Administration chose not to include heavy-duty trucks in the new regulation, though that eventually did happen following an order by Congress in 2009. This is precisely why Ford is appealing the court’s decision, noting that the roof used on the 2002 Ford Super Duty was reasonably safe as designed, met industry standards at the time, and wasn’t covered by federal roof-crush requirements. As a result, the NHTSA didn’t test these models for roof-crush performance, either.

Instead, Ford pins the blame for the aforementioned crash on the truck’s tires, which had an incorrect load-carrying capacity. The court did assign 30 percent of the blame to Pep Boys, which is where the owners of the pickup had those tires installed, but levied the other 70 percent of responsibility upon Ford. Additionally, the occupants of the Super Duty weren’t wearing their seat belts when the crash occurred, according to court documents. Regardless, Ford is facing 162 lawsuits and 83 additional reports of roof crush similar to this case that affect heavy-duty trucks built between 1999-2016.

We’ll have more on this and all of Ford’s active lawsuits soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford lawsuit news, Ford Super Duty news, and 24/7 Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Fred

    The safety benefits of not having the roof cave in and kill people were unclear to Ford.

    This company morally bankrupt. From years of major safety issues, extremely poor quality, and now price gouging with their garbage EVs it amazes me anyone still buys the garbage Ford makes. This company is a cancer.

  2. Ratty

    Sorry, but if Ford knew weak roofs were dangerous to their buyers they should have took it upon themselves to protect them. Now it will cost you your life and Ford over a billion dollars. So much for hindsight.

  3. Paul

    I understand that money is important but do you really need Kalesafe political advertising?

  4. Andrew

    The roof met standards, the couple had the wrong tires on the truck, and they weren’t wearing their seatblets. This should have been thrown out of court. No company, Ford or otherwise should be paying for the couples carelessness. The responsibility for ensuring your vehicle is safe ultimately falls to you. If you get tires, it’s your responsibility to make sure they are the correct size, lod, and speed rating. If the vehicle is built to standard for that year, then it is the standard that is at fault, not the manufacturer.

  5. Mark

    Look at the facts of this case. Tires were wrong, seatbelts not in use, as to the speed involved or carelessness of those involved in the crash, details aren’t known. Reasonable doubt is all over this occurrence, a manufacturer cannot be held accountable for the variables in play here. The roof strength was exempt at the time of manufacture, and isn’t legally required to comply with modern standards. It was built according to design parameters of engineering two decades ago. This is not a common failure. The specifics of the crash should serve in proving that pther factors were to blame, not the company that built the truck.

  6. Mike

    I agree with Mark. When I examined the crash scene photos. There were mismatched tires on The vehicle. That also told me the tire seller wasn’t at fat either. Ford puts warning labs for tire size on the vehicle, the tire manufacturer put safety info out publicly for the specification of the tire if the are not abused or the load rates aren’t exceed by hauling heavy farm equipment


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