Steve Simmons of Raleigh, N.C. believes he is the first civilian with a confirmed case of carbon monoxide poisoning from a Ford Explorer and he’s become a central resource for others who believe their Ford SUVs are making them sick. According to a report on WRAL.com, Simmons ended up in a hospital emergency room just within two weeks of buying a certified pre-owned Explorer last July. He said he felt dizzy, nauseated and had problems with headaches and his vision. A blood test diagnosed him with carbon monoxide poisoning.
Sharing Their Stories
Simmons then launched a website, FordExplorerNightmare.com to share his story and help other vehicle owners who are experiencing similar problems. So far, at least 15 people have reached out to him on the site. Simmons tells WRAL that the standard response he gets from Ford owners is: “Gee, I didn’t know.”
One of those people was Stephanie Altman, a South Carolina woman, who after years of smelling exhaust and feeling sick while driving, had blood work done. The test confirmed she too had suffered carbon monoxide poisoning. She had a carbon monoxide detector installed in her SUV. Others told Simmons they have started driving their cars with the windows open to prevent the lethal gas from building up inside the vehicle.
Explorers have had a similar impact on police officers across the country who have been poisoned and sickened by the exhaust fumes that leak into the vehicle. Our law firm is representing a Newport Beach police officer who crashed his car and was seriously injured after passing out behind the wheel from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Ford’s Lack of Action
This story on WRAL shows that civilians are also experiencing the same problem, blowing a huge hole in Ford’s argument that police cruisers were having this problem because of post-market modifications made by police departments to install emergency equipment such as lights and sirens.
So far, Ford has done little to address the problem that could potentially involve more than a million vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched a probe into these defective autos, but the investigation has not yet been completed. Ford has said their investigation found the carbon monoxide levels in the vehicles don’t exceed “what people are exposed to every day.” The automaker has offered a complimentary service that “reduces the potential for exhaust to enter the vehicle.”
Ford has sold more than 1.35 million Explorers since 2011, when the vehicle was redesigned and the exhaust problems began. However, a “customer service campaign” is not a recall. As auto defect lawyers who are representing victims – both police officers and civilians – who have been affected by this serious issue, we hope Ford will do the right thing here and issue a recall that will provide complimentary repairs to vehicle owners and solve the issue once and for all. And they need to do it before more innocent consumers are killed or seriously injured.