The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating
reports of Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicles leaking carbon monoxide
into the cabins. NHTSA investigators have arrived in Austin, Texas, to
determine why five Austin Police Department officers became ill with carbon
monoxide poisoning while driving these vehicles. The Ford police utility
vehicles under investigation are a modified form of the Ford Explorer,
America’s most popular SUV.
This is not the first time police officers have become sick with carbon
monoxide poisoning while driving these vehicles.
In 2014, a police officer in Newport Beach crashed his interceptor into
a tree after losing consciousness while driving. For several months, doctors
could not figure out why he had crashed. After reading reports of Ford
SUVs leaking carbon monoxide, he concluded he may have been exposed to
carbon monoxide. The officer, who suffered a
traumatic brain injury and broken eye socket, filed a lawsuit against Ford.
In another case that occurred earlier this year, an Austin police officer
almost crashed into a bus after being exposed to a carbon monoxide leak.
The officer reported that he began experiencing headaches and lightheadedness
while driving. He has also filed a lawsuit against Ford.
Police vehicles may not be the only models affected by this problem. Over
the last several years, NHTSA has received more than 450 reports of Ford
Explorers and police utility vehicles leaking carbon monoxide. More than
150 of these complaints were investigated by NHTSA. Complaints lodged
with NHTSA involve 2011-2017 Ford Explorer and police utility vehicles.
Although Ford has acknowledged the problem, a recall has not been issued yet.
Can I File a Lawsuit if I Was Harmed by An Auto Defect?
Vehicle manufacturers have a legal obligation to ensure their products
are free of harmful defects. In cases where defects cause injuries or
deaths, injured consumers or their surviving family members may be able
to file lawsuits for damages. If you or a loved one has suffered harm
and believe a
vehicle defect is to blame, we encourage you to discuss your situation with one of our
attorneys at Regan Zambri & Long.