Washington State Police are suing Ford over Police Interceptors that are leaking carbon monoxide gas into the cabin.
Ford has been under fire for years over how carbon monoxide miraculously finds its way into Explorer cabins. As of last spring, the NHTSA has received over 3,000 complaints about toxic levels of carbon monoxide in the Ford Explorer and had started a federal investigation into the matter. Meanwhile, Ford continued to deny there was any issue with the Explorer and that carbon monoxide complaints were the result of unauthorized modifications to the SUV.
Carbon monoxide is not something to mess around with. Symptoms can start off as just nausea, headaches, and dizziness, but can lead to loss of consciousness, coma, and even death. Losing consciousness while driving on a highway is a sure way to make those more deadly consequences arrive even faster.
Calls for recall have been around since 2018, but so far Ford has only issued “technical service bulletins” to their dealer network to notify of them a possible problem in case people come in to complain.
However, Ford might have to start taking the issue more seriously. A lawsuit being put forward by 6 Washington State Police troopers accuse Ford of knowingly selling defective Interceptor SUVs (which are based on the Explorer civilian model) and then trying to conceal the defect.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the suit notes the technical service bulletins, NHTSA complaints, and ongoing federal investigation, but also notes several accidents, including three involving police officers.
“The alleged injuries ... range from unspecified to loss of consciousness with a majority indicating nausea, headaches or light-headedness. One police incident alleged a crash with related injuries, and a second police incident reported a physiological injury allegedly from carbon monoxide exposure. Another reported police incident resulted in a rollover crash event with injuries."
In total, 25 crashes and 41 injuries have been noted in the suit.
Ford spokesman Mike Levine emailed the Free Press to say that carbon monoxide levels “are related to unsealed holes from the installation of police equipment by third parties after the vehicle was purchased."
After a 2017 crash, all Washington State Interceptors have a carbon monoxide detector inside the cabin at all times.