Even as Ford remains dismissive about the need to recall its Ford Explorer SUVs amid a flood of complaints from vehicle owners who report dizziness, nausea and vomiting, federal officials say they are taking the issue seriously and continuing their probe. According to a USA Today news report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed last week that its investigation into Ford Explorer SUVs model years 2011 to 2017 is ongoing after a consumer safety group repeated its appeal for a recall.
Reports of Crashes and Injuries
Both civilians and police departments alike have reported that the exhaust fumes leak into the vehicle compartment and occupants suffer carbon monoxide poisoning as a result. Our law firm is representing a police officer from Newport Beach who crashed his cruiser after passing out due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Still, Ford officials maintain that their vehicles are safe and say their investigation and “extensive testing” has not found carbon monoxide levels that exceed what people are exposed to every day.
More than 1,300 Ford Explorer owners have reported issues to federal safety officials who launched the investigation in 2016. The nonprofit Center for Auto Safety sent a letter to Ford’s CEO Jin Hackett last week asking the company to recall 1.3 million Explorers for suspected carbon monoxide leaks.
In July 2017, federal transportation officials expanded their investigation into reports of exhaust odors in vehicle compartments, crashes that may have been linked to exposure to the lethal gas and dozens of injuries among police and civilian vehicles. NHTSA’s investigation is now at the “engineering analysis” stage, a step before the agency can formally demand the automaker to issue a recall. NHTSA got preliminary testing that suggests CO levels may be elevated in some situations where the vehicles are being driven.
Urgent Need for a Recall
So far, Ford has only done technical service bulletins where they repair vehicles of consumers who report a problem. Several Ford owners have come in with reports of elevated carbon monoxide levels in their system after experiencing symptoms while driving such as headaches, weakness, dizziness and blurred vision. This is even more dangerous because the driver in such situations could become unconscious and lose control of the vehicle. What’s worse, it could put other people on the road in grave danger.
As auto defect attorneys, we join consumer safety advocates in asking NHTSA to force a recall of these dangerous and defective vehicles. This is something that needs to happen before more innocent people are injured or killed.