United States upgrades probe into 1.33 million Ford Explorers over exhaust odors

Ford Explorer Carbon Monoxide Buildup Prompts Police To Take Them Off The Street

"We will begin removing from service all Ford Explorers and Utility Interceptors used by the City of Austin".

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Office of Defects Investigation has raised its preliminary probe to a formal engineering analysis and expanded the range of vehicles to include 2016 and 2017 SUVs. In that time, 62 workers' comp reports have been filed by officers for exposure to carbon monoxide.

A Texas police department announced that it is pulling almost 400 police cars from the department's fleet over concerns about carbon monoxide poisoning.

The U.S. government's auto safety agency has expanded an investigation into complaints of exhaust fumes inside Ford Explorer SUVs, adding two model years and almost 400,000 vehicles. Among the complaints were three crashes and 41 injuries, mostly loss of consciousness, nausea and headaches.

Newport Beach, California, officer Brian McDowell crashed into a tree in 2015 after passing out behind the wheel. Sergeant Zachary Lahood in Austin, Texas was calling for help as his dash cam was rolling.

The agency said it had "no substantive data or actual evidence", such as a blood test "supporting a claim that any of the alleged injury or crash allegations were the result of carbon monoxide poisoning". The department has other vehicles in its fleet that officers can use, but they will have to double up on patrols.

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In a statement, Ford said "Safety is our top priority". The bulk of the complaints come from regular Ford owners like Stacie Jones.

"It's frustrating because at this point, I don't know what I am going to do", Jones said.

A representative from Ford previously said the company takes the safety of their customers very seriously and are cooperating with the federal investigation.

The NHTSA contends it doesn't have any proof the injuries reported were caused by carbon monoxide, though investigators say levels of that gas may be elevated during certain driving scenarios.

The Interceptor is a version of the Ford Explorer that has been modified for police departments.

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