Austin idles 400 police SUVs over fumes
AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Police Department on Friday pulled nearly 400 Ford Explorer SUVs from its patrol fleet over worries about exhaust fumes inside the vehicles.
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. In Austin, more than 60 officers have reported health problems since February and more than 20 were found to have measurable carbon monoxide in their systems, city officials said Friday.
Among the complaints were three crashes and 41 injuries, mostly loss of consciousness, nausea and headaches. Many of the complaints came from police departments, which use the Police Interceptor version of the Explorer in patrol fleets.
The city installed carbon monoxide alarms after officers began reporting getting sick while in the vehicles, and parked 60 of them when the alarms activated.
The decision left Austin scrambling to find replacement vehicles for more than half of its patrol fleet.