Austin returns first batch of Ford Explorers to service

Fleet pulled after carbon monoxide concerns earlier this summer

November 29, 2017 - 2:07 pm

AUSTIN (KJCE) -- More and more of the City of Austin's Ford Explorers are back on the road.

The City says 44 of the vehicles are back in service, out of 439 in the city fleet. The vehicles were taken out of service earlier this year after concerns over carbon monoxide poisoning inside the passenger cabins of the vehicles.

Officials say they've worked with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as well as Ford, which subsequently identified potential issues. This resulted in Ford issuing a Customer Satisfaction program that outlined repairs to be carried out by local Ford dealerships to address carbon monoxide concerns.

In September, the City’s Fleet Services department took delivery of the first batch of repaired vehicles back from Ford and further testing was carried out, both by Fleet Department staff and APD officers. Vehicles are continuing to be sent to Ford for repairs. The city says the process of transitioning the remaining vehicles to normal service is expected to take a number of months.

"As we receive the vehicles back from Ford we will continue to test and monitor these vehicles closely," said Jennifer Walls, Fleet Services Officer. "Throughout this process our priority has been the health and safety of our City employees and we are grateful to them for their patience and understanding while we worked to get this issue resolved."

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said: "As the repaired vehicles come back to the department we will work out how to re-deploy them and how best to start returning officers to one-person patrols. It will be some time before we have the entire fleet back."

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