Previously recalled Ford Escape models facing unintended acceleration claims
In late 2004, Ford Motor Company recalled 406,863 examples of the Ford Escape compact sport utility vehicle from the 2002, 2003 and 2004 model years over a concern that the accelerator cable connecting the throttle body to the accelerator pedal could become dislodged and possible cause sudden unintended acceleration. The problem as the CAS sees it is that many of these previously recalled SUVs could have had the cruise control cable damaged when the accelerator cable was serviced – a problem which could cause its own brand of unintended acceleration.
In a 144 page filing, the Center for Auto Safety detailed the exact problem with the 2002-2004 Ford Escape in typical long-winded legal fashion. The short of it being that if the accelerator cable was serviced as part of the 2004 recall order, the cruise control cable running right next to the main throttle cable could easily become damaged. When the cruise control cable is damaged and the driver sets the cruise control, it may become lodged at that speed so when the driver goes to slow down – the vehicle may not want to. Of course, unintended acceleration can be solved by turning off the ignition key but that also kills your power steering and power brakes so there is a vastly increased risk of an accident. According to the CAS, this unintended acceleration has already resulted in one fatal accident of a teenage driver along with several reports of incidences that did not end so tragically.
Ford Motor Company is reportedly looking into this problem but the CAS contests that FoMoCo already knew about this possible problem – and they have since October 6th 2005. On that day, Ford Motor Company sent a bulletin to dealerships warning them to take special care not to damage the cruise control system when replacing the sticky accelerator cable but the CAS claims that by the time that statement was sent to dealerships – as many as 319,506 vehicles had already been serviced. On these 320k vehicles, the CAS argues that there is an increased likelihood of sudden unintended acceleration since dealer servicemen were not formally aware of the problem. Because of this, the CAS believes that Ford should once again recall these 406,863 vehicles to ensure that there is no damage to the cruise control system that could lead to a deadly case of unintended acceleration.
Ford is reportedly working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to figure out the cause of the fatal accident that killed the young driver. Should there indeed by found to be a risk of unintended acceleration due to the cruise control cables getting hung up – Ford will most likely issue a voluntary recall to address the issue before any more accidents occur.
Source: Center for Auto Safety