A police officer in Oviedo, Florida, is one of thousands across the country to complain about carbon monoxide levels becoming too high in his Ford Interceptor police cruiser. According to a WFTV news report, while Ford has not issued a recall, area law enforcement agencies are taking precautions to ensure that their officers are safe. After becoming aware of the issue from Ford, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office issued carbon monoxide detector cards to all deputies who drive these Ford Interceptors.
Oveido police officers said, about a month ago, one of their officers working the night shift inside his Ford Interceptor suddenly did not feel well. He began to feel “woozy” and when he got checked by a doctor, realized that he had suffered carbon monoxide poisoning. Officials examined the vehicle and discovered that the lethal gas was seeping into the cabin of his cruiser, which they were aware of because of a carbon monoxide test strip inside the vehicle.
Ford Still Says Vehicles Are Fine
The department has now taken more than 50 SUVs to Ford for necessary repairs. The Seminole County Sheriff’s Department said that while no deputies have experienced health issues, six have reported high levels of carbon monoxide in their vehicles. Ford issued a statement in July that it is covering the cost of specific repairs in Police Interceptor Utility vehicles with carbon monoxide concerns.
Ford maintains that these problems arose because police departments modify the vehicles to install lights, sirens and other equipment necessary for law enforcement activity. However, the carbon monoxide leaks have also been reported in civilian vehicles, which begs the question as to how they are occurring in vehicles that have not been modified in any way.
A Necessary Recall
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. Carbon monoxide is harmful when breathed because it displaces oxygen in the blood and deprives the heart, brain, and other vital organs of oxygen. Large amounts of CO can overcome you in minutes without warning causing you to lose consciousness and suffocate. Besides tightness across the chest, initial symptoms of CO poisoning may include headache, fatigue, dizziness, drowsiness, or nausea. During prolonged or high exposures, symptoms may worsen and include vomiting, confusion, and collapse in addition to loss of consciousness and muscle weakness.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is still in the final stages of investigating these vehicles. It is critical that they issue a widespread recall for the Interceptors as well as Explorer SUVs that are currently exposing millions to these dangers. Our auto defect law firm is handling a number of these cases including one where a Newport Beach police officer was badly injured when he crashed his Cruiser after being overcome by carbon monoxide. If you or a loved one has been affected by these dangerous and defective vehicles, please contact an experienced auto product liability lawyer to examine your legal options.