Monday, 21 August, 2017

Ford to fix police SUVs amid CO concerns

Reuters Reuters
Cecilia Poole | 01 August, 2017, 22:48

It was a move, according to national reports, that came as US auto safety regulators investigate complaints of exhaust fume problems in more than 1.3 million Explorers from 2011 through 2017 model years.

The move comes as U.S. auto safety regulators investigate complaints of exhaust fume problems in more than 1.3 million Explorers from the 2011 through 2017 model years.

"Safety is our top priority", Ford said in a statement.

Whenever a police or fire department routinely installs customized emergency lighting, radios and other features, they have to drill wiring access holes to the rear of the vehicle. "However, the company has discovered holes and unsealed spaces in the back of some Police Interceptor Utilities that had police equipment installed after leaving Ford's factory", Ford said. According to the NTHSA, the leaks may be linked to three crashes and 41 injuries, including an Austin police officer who allegedly passed out and hit a tree. He said no elevated levels have been found, and no officers have reported symptoms. In that time, 62 workers' comp reports have been filed by officers for exposure to carbon monoxide.

But a Portland police spokesman says the Austin department's Explorers are equipped with an optional rear compartment air conditioner that is not on the local ones.

"The safety of our officers is paramount, so we take it very seriously", Lukovsky said.

The NHTSA has said almost 800 people have complained to the government about fumes, while Ford has received more than 2,000 complaints and warranty claims.

Hartinger said they'll be watching the issues. Twenty of the officers tested positive for carbon monoxide.

"There will a concern there will be a spike in crime", Manley said.

While a small handful of police support vehicles have yet to be placed in storage, the city says they are not actively being used.

Despite the lack of conclusive and documented linkage between injury reports and carbon monoxide poisoning, the NHTSA notes that carbon monoxide levels "may be elevated in certain driving scenarios".

Police departments have reported smelling carbon monoxide inside the top-selling police vehicle, which is manufactured at the Chicago Assembly Plant in Hegewish.

The agency also said that through cooperation with police departments, it has learned that the Police Interceptor version of the Explorer is experiencing exhaust manifold cracks that are hard to detect and may explain exhaust odors.

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