The Completely Preventable Disaster Of The Exploding Ford Pinto
Soon after the Ford Motor Company introduced the Pinto to the public in 1970, the inexpensive subcompact model became one of the most popular cars in the United States. However, by the end of the decade, the Pinto had earned a reputation as a "firetrap." The car's fuel tank could explode if the car was involved in a rear-end collision - a danger that Ford engineers were aware of but failed to address. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration first received pressure to force Ford to recall all Pintos as early as 1974, but it wasn't until early 1978 - shortly after a jury awarded a badly disfigured driver $128 million in damages - that the automotive company finally gave in to the pressure to take the cars out of service. Sadly, this decision came too late for the dozens, possibly even hundreds, of people killed or injured in these rear-end collisions. And although Ford was able to survive the Pinto scandal, the company's reputation took a major public relations hit. For years, Ford was widely considered to be more interested in making a profit than it was in passenger safety. Meanwhile, the Pinto has gone down in history as one of the worst automobiles ever produced.