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Ford SUVs To Get Rollover Help

Ford Motor Co. says it will add anti-rollover technology to its Ford Explorer and three other sport utility vehicles for the 2005 model year.

The Explorer has been the target of hundreds of lawsuits that say it is prone to roll over.

Ford said Thursday that it is putting a new stability system in all versions of the 2005 Explorer, Mercury Mountaineer, Lincoln Aviator and Lincoln Navigator. It will be optional on the 2005 Ford Expedition.

"I'm very please to hear it, and, frankly, it's about time," safety expert Sean Kean of Safety Research and Strategies told CBS News Correspondent Steve Knight. "The electronic stability control systems can do things that a driver, even professional drivers, cannot do."

Called roll stability control, the system reacts automatically when a vehicle begins to tilt. It seeks to right the vehicle by automatically slowing the engine and gently activating the brakes.

The Dearborn-based automaker has sold more than 5 million Explorers since the vehicle was introduced in 1990.

In 2000, millions of Bridgestone/Firestone tires on Ford Explorers were recalled because federal safety officials found they were prone to losing their tread, causing rollovers. At least 271 U.S. traffic deaths have been linked to the failed tires.

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