Few mechanical problems are closer to yelling “fire” in a crowded theater like unintended acceleration. A petition is being lodged with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that complaints of Ford Escape unintended acceleration should be dealt with by ordering a recall.
Petition lodged to address Ford Escape unintended acceleration by recall
A number of people are complaining to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to AutoGuide, that the 2002 to 2004 model years of the Ford Escape crossover SUV are malfunctioning and unintended acceleration is occurring. A petition has been lodged for agency to initiate a recall by the Center for Automotive Safety.
Stems from earlier recall
According to The Car Connection, Ford recalled 470,000 2002, 2003 and 2004 Escape crossovers in 2005 for an issue which could have caused unintended acceleration. Of the 470,000 Escape vehicles in the recall, 320,000 received the repair, leaving another 150,000 vehicles on the road without it.
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The issue was with the throttle cable, which could snag on the accelerator pedal, causing the throttle to be stuck open. However, an incorrect fix of that issue could lead to further unintended acceleration. According to The Indy Channel, an Indianapolis ABC affiliate, Ford warned service technicians in a technical service bulletin that if they were tug or push the cable upwards it could damage the throttle body cam, a key part in the operation of the throttle body of the fuel injection system.
If that happened, it could lead to the cable becoming loose, making it susceptible to snagging on a ridge on the engine cover.
At least one casualty
According to The Car Connection, at least 134 complaints were found by the New York Times of sudden acceleration by Ford Escape owners on the NHTSA website. In one complaint, the owner put their car in neutral and steered it to the side of the road, with the engine roaring at 6,000 RPM.
There is one known fatality.
According to The Indy Channel, Saige Bloom, a 17-year-old in Payson, Ariz., was killed in 2011 when the 2002 Escape she was driving accelerated away and hit another car, ejecting her from the vehicle. She died of her injuries. Eyewitnesses described her weaving through traffic, avoiding other cars until the impact.
An investigation by ABC reporters and experts hired by them found the accelerator had been stuck open, with the throttle cable lodged under the engine cover. Her Escape had been fixed in the recall, but before the bulletin was issued. It was also found that the cable had been damaged, exactly in the manner the Ford bulletin described. Extensive scuff marks were found around the accelerator pedal, which Bloom apparently tried to dislodge by kicking at it repeatedly.
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