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Exhaust fumes blamed for injuries

Car accidents have many causes in addition to a negligent or drunk driver. For example, accidents and injuries may be blamed on defective equipment.

Exhaust fumes leaking into the cabs of Ford Explorers may be related to three auto accidents and 41 injuries, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency is escalating its investigation into 1.33 million Explorers from the 2011-2017 model years because of reports of exhaust odors into the vehicle.

Its current probe is one level below the category of a vehicle recall. There were more than 2,700 complaints regarding this defect since Ford and the NHTSA learned about it.

One police investigation concerned a crash where individuals had injuries that are usually suffered in an auto accident. Another investigation pertained to an accident with physical injuries allegedly incurred from carbon monoxide exposure. Police are also investigating a rollover accident where individuals were injured.

Most injury claims included nausea, headaches or light headedness. There have also been loss of consciousness and other unspecified injuries.

The NHTSA has not yet received data or hard evidence supporting claims that CO poisoning caused thee injuries or accidents. However, it found that CO may have been elevated in certain driving situations.

There were four technical service bulletins issued since 2016 on this problem which has been connected to exhaust manifold cracks. The investigation was centered on approximately 638,000 Explorers.

Ford recently claimed that the problem is limited to Explorer Police Interceptors. Most of these SUVs have holes that were drilled for equipment mounts throughout the vehicle. CO may have entered through these holes and unsealed places where police equipment was installed after leaving the factory. The NHTSA is cooperating with one police department with monitoring CO levels in Explorers with police specifications.

Victims of an accident caused by another person or manufacturer's negligence often face medical expenses, lost wages and other losses. An attorney can help obtain fair and just compensation for these victims and their families.

Source: Auto Week, "1.33 million Ford Explorers probed for exhaust leaks after 2,700 complaints," July 31, 2017

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