Science

Austin police pulls all 400 Ford SUVs after possible carbon monoxide leaks

Austin police pulls all 400 Ford SUVs after possible carbon monoxide leaks”

After months of reports of possible carbon monoxide leaks in Austin police patrol vehicles, the Austin Police Department has confirmed to KVUE's and the Austin American-Statesman's Tony Plohetski that they are pulling all 400 of their Ford SUVs from patrol.

He is now reportedly suing Ford. A handful of law enforcement agencies throughout Texas have started putting in detectors to alert the officer if carbon monoxide leaks in the vehicle's cabin.

ABC15 Arizona reports the potentially lethal build-up affects model years 2011 to 2017, and the Austin Police Department has already taken 60 vehicles off the street because of this concern.

According to Austin police, one of the officer's blood tests showed he had twice the normal limit of carbon monoxide in his system.

"If this is not done by the end of the week, we're going to have big problems and my officers are anxious about it", said Ken Casady, head of the Austin Police Association.

The agency said the reported injuries include "loss of consciousness, with the majority indicating nausea, headaches, or light-headedness".

Numerous complaints came from police departments, which use the Police Interceptor version of the Explorer in patrol fleets.

Police have reported two crashes that may be linked to carbon monoxide exposure, including a rollover incident, and a third incident involving injuries related to carbon monoxide exposure. However, in a statement Thursday evening, the vehicle maker said it was continuing to investigate. That could mean high costs for Ford down the road if it has to do a recall. Customers with concerns can call a dedicated hotline at (888) 260-5575 or visit their local dealer.

NHTSA now says more than 2,700 complaints have been lodged against the automaker and 41 people have reported injuries.

NHTSA has conducted field inspections of vehicles and crashes involving police units that occurred while the officers were on duty.

But NHTSA has obtained preliminary testing that suggests carbon monoxide levels may be elevated in certain driving scenarios, "although the significance and effect of those levels remains under evaluation".

Investigators will evaluate the cause, frequency and safety consequences of the cracks, and whether Explorers used by civilians are experiencing cracked manifolds, the agency said.



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