Update: Ford Rushes to Repair Police SUVs as More Departments Raise Carbon Monoxide Concerns
Aug. 10, 2017—Ford Motor Co. has dispatched several teams of investigators to police departments across the country as the automaker tries to contain the fallout over concerns about carbon monoxide seeping into law enforcement vehicles, according to NBC.
Just last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) had expanded an investigation into 1.3 million Ford Explorers over possible carbon monoxide issues. This announcement came after the police department in Austin, Texas pulled all of the Explorers from their police fleet following several complaints. In the last five months, Austin police officers filed 62 workers’ comp reports for carbon monoxide exposure.
Bill Gubing, chief engineer for Ford's Explorer line, told NBC News Tuesday that company investigators have been to more than a dozen departments in just the last week and have found Police Interceptor Vehicles—essentially specially modified Ford Explorers—with holes near tail lights or rear lift gates which can allow carbon monoxide inside the cabin.
In Auburn, Mass.—where last week at least three officers were hospitalizeddue to high carbon monoxide levels in their vehicles and the department pulled several SUVs from service—Ford said it’s worked to seal open holes in the vehicles and the department has placed them back on the road.
After the police department in Austin, Texas, pulled nearly 400 vehicles off the road over carbon monoxide concerns last month, Ford said it would pay for the cost of specific repairs to any police vehicle in any city that experienced those same issues.
It’s a significant issue for the auto giant, which has been om the police vehicle business for 70 years. The Explorer makes up more than half of all U.S. police vehicle sales.
“By no means is our investigation complete,” Gubing said. “We’re doing everything we can to figure out what issues are out there and how we can help.”
Still, federal regulators recently expanded their investigation following more than 2,700 complaints of exhaust odors—including many from civilian vehicles as well. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is now looking into Ford Explorers from model years 2011-2017.