NHTSA’s Lack of Action of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Leads to Lawsuit
Each year, thousands of people are injured or killed as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning from their vehicles. According to a news report on Yubanet.com, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s inaction in addressing this issue has led to a lawsuit filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility or PEER under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
NHTSA denied a petition from PEER last year to initiate a rulemaking to require installation of carbon monoxide detectors in all new gas-powered motor vehicles and require the installation of built-in engine cut-off devices to prevent injuries and fatalities caused by CO released from vehicle exhaust. PEER’s petition also drew attention to the fact that CO poisoning plays a part in drowsy driving, which is the second leading cause of car accidents in the United States right behind drunk driving.
Failure to Respond to a Critical Issue
There are also millions of vehicles on our roadways that are equipped with keyless ignition systems that allow vehicles to run even after the keyless fob is no longer located in the vehicle. This has caused a number of deaths. Pending litigation charges that as many 750,000 late-model Ford Explorer SUVs funnel exhaust fumes containing deadly CO levels into their cabins. Of special concern is that passengers in these vehicles, often children, are exposed to high levels of the lethal gas.
NHTSA also has not responded to PEER’s FOIA request for an explanation of why it denied its petition. So, the group is asking NHTSA for the 2016 outcome of its review of dangers from keyless ignitions in vehicles saying the agency owes the public an explanation for why it has failed to act to reduce carbon monoxide related injuries and deaths. PEER also maintains that CO detectors may be the most cost-effective safety device to be installed in vehicles since seatbelts.
Dangers of Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. These symptoms are flu-like. However, if you breathe a lot of the gas, it could render you unconscious or even kill you.
Our auto defect law firm has represented a number of individuals who have been sickened and/or injured by exhaust fumes leaking into the vehicle compartment. These incidents by and large involve Ford Explorer SUVs – both police cruisers and civilian vehicles. If you or a loved one has been affected by one of these vehicles, call us to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.