The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has expanded its investigation into reports that 2011-2017 model year Ford Explorer SUVs are experiencing leaks in their exhaust systems, which could cause toxic carbon monoxide gas to enter the vehicle’s cabin. According to an article on Consumerreports.org, there is a risk that the gas could make drivers ill or even lose consciousness, thereby increasing the possibility of a crash.
NHTSA officials say the expanded investigation now involves about 1.3 million Explorer SUVs including the Police Interceptor version that is marketed and sold directly to law enforcement agencies. So far, 2,700 complaints have been filed with Ford and NHTSA with three reported car accidents and 41 injuries. No fatalities have been reported. The year-long investigation by NHTSA has been upgraded to an “engineering analysis,” which is one step away from a full-fledged recall.
Lawsuits Stemming from Auto Defect
Safety regulators say symptoms resulting from these possible exhaust leaks may include nausea and headaches. In some instances, drivers have reported a loss of consciousness leading to an accident and injury. The auto defect attorneys at Bisnar Chase are representing at least a dozen victims of these defects – both police officers and civilians.
One of the victims, a Newport Beach police officer, who blacked out while driving his patrol vehicle, veered into a tree and suffered major injuries from which he is still recovering. According to NHTSA small cracks in the exhaust manifold, especially in the Police Interceptor models, could be leading to reports of exhaust odors in the vehicle cabin. So far, Ford has only issued service bulletins to its dealerships about this issue. No recalls have been issued.
Actions from Police Departments
A number of police departments such as Santa Barbara have taken actions including installing carbon monoxide sensors in their cruisers. Several other police departments such as Austin have taken more drastic action, by pulling hundreds of Ford Explorer SUVs off the road. The Austin Police Department pulled 400 of its SUVs off the road after at least 20 officers were found with the harmful gas in their blood. In Henderson, Nevada, one of the police officers became unconscious behind the wheel and crashed his cruiser into a ditch.
As auto defect attorneys who are representing these victims, we hope a recall is issued soon before lives are lost as a result of this dangerous defect. If you or a loved one has been affected by this vehicle defect, you may be able to secure compensation for the injuries, damages and losses you have sustained. Call a reputed auto defect law firm to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.