The Vanderbilt University Police Department has taken out all of their Ford Explorer vehicles from the road after a number of officers reportedly got carbon monoxide poisoning because of a leak inside the SUV’s cabin. According to a News Channel 15 report, the department apparently bought four of the 2017 Ford Explorer civilian models for administrators to drive.
The university’s Vice Chancellor August Washington reported that he became light headed recently while driving one of these Explorers. Tests conducted by the university confirmed 23 different toxin compounds in the vehicle’s cabin consistent with carbon monoxide. Ford apparently offered to fix the problem by installing charcoal filters in the vehicles. However, VUPD officials did not see that as an acceptable solution and ended up terminating the leases for all four SUVs.
This disturbing report comes at the heels of various lawsuits filed by police officers around the country alleging that the vehicles are leaking carbon monoxide and sickening drivers. Our Newport Beach auto defect law firm is representing more than a dozen victims – police officers as well as civilians who were affected by this dangerous defect. One of our clients is Newport Beach police officer, Brian McDowell, whose Interceptor swerved into oncoming traffic in September 2015, nearly missed another vehicle, and crashed into a tree. McDowell was so badly injured that he has yet to return to work.
He crashed because he too became sick from the carbon monoxide leak. An Austin police officer is also suing Ford because he passed out behind the wheel of his Ford Explorer Interceptor model from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning. The issue is likely being caused by a defect involving unsealed seams in the back of the vehicle near the exhaust system where air intake filters are located. Austin PD has already pulled 37 of these Interceptors from service. Many police departments are using carbon monoxide detectors to better protect their officers.
Time for a Recall
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has already looked into more than 150 complaints from Ford Explorer owners about the odor of exhaust fumes in their SUVs. Ford has settled a class-action lawsuit related to those complaints. However, there has been no recall to date.
It is unacceptable that Ford has not issued a recall of these dangerous and defective vehicles yet. These Interceptors and Explorer SUVs must be taken off our roadways as soon as possible. Not only do they pose a serious danger to those who drive them or occupy them, but they also present a serious hazard to others on the roadway.