Senator Charles Schumer of New York stated Friday that Ford’s Crown Victoria may be liable in the death of Queens cabbie Gurbaj Singh, renewing the call for the automaker to begin retrofitting redesigned gas tanks. The cab driver was killed after his Ford was broadsided by a passing car.  The driver has since been accused of being intoxicated and excessive speed.

Popular with municipal and commercial users due to its tough rear-wheel-drive, body-on-frame mechanicals and low operating costs, The Panther platform, a Blue Oval mainstay, has been embroiled in controversy since 2003, when police departments around the nation suspended ordering and use of the Crown Victoria amidst growing debate over the vulnerability of its rear-mounted gas tank. Ford began to offer gas tank shields shortly thereafter, but subsequent testing has questioned their effectiveness.

This is the first time in many months that the Crown Vic’s crash-worthiness has been called to the fore on a national level.

Ford was unavailable for comment.

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