Those who ride in a Ford Explorer as a passenger or a driver are putting themselves at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Despite nearly 2,100 complaints to Ford and another 791 to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), Ford has yet to issue a recall of 1.33 million 2011-2017 Ford Explorer sport utility vehicles.
“Please help us. I have three kids and no other vehicle”
The Ford Explorer Interceptor is the most widely used police vehicle in this country, causing concern over the potential consequences police officers may suffer while operating the car. Among the complaints are a strong smell similar to burning hair that causes nausea, vomiting, headaches, light headedness, and even fainting. In July, a Massachusetts police office became disoriented and rear ended another car. He and the interior of his Ford Explorer Interceptor both tested positive for carbon monoxide. In an attempt to smooth over issues with police departments and taxpayers, Ford has sent investigators out to examine Explorer Interceptors and fix them at no cost to police departments. According to the engineer of the Explorer, post-production changes to the vehicle that involve drilling holes and other entryways for lights, sirens and electronic equipment are allowing carbon monoxide to leak into the car’s interior. Following that theory, the engineer says that civilians don’t have any reason to worry.
If the engineer of the Explorer claims those driving non-modified versions of the car are in the clear, why has Ford been inundated with claims that the smell is giving children and adults headaches, stomachaches and causing them to vomit?
NHTSA Probe May Finally Lead to Recall
As the number of complaints has grown, the NHTSA has widened their 2016 probe from a review of 638,000 Ford Explorers to an engineering analysis of 1.33 million of the cars. The agency publicly stated that they do not yet have conclusive evidence that proves that a driver or passenger has been poisoned by carbon monoxide from a Ford Explorer. The definitive link would be a blood test that shows elevated levels of carboxyhemoglobin. The news of a lack of direct evidence is surprising, given that it has also been reported that a Massachusetts police officer and his Ford Explorer both recently tested positive after an accident.
What the agency has admitted is that they are examining certain scenarios in which the Ford Explorer emits carbon monoxide, such as when the air conditioning or heat is turned on and the engine is accelerated for a period of time.
For now, Ford Explorers still remain on the market and not under recall for carbon monoxide poisoning. Only time will tell if the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration will find enough evidence to force Ford to issue an official recall.