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Ford Escape product liability being investigated by the NHTSA

Defective motor vehicle parts can put unsuspecting drivers in serious danger. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently investigating a very serious product liability issue in the Escape, a car made by Ford Motor Company. Investigators are looking into a faulty cruise control cable in almost half a million 2001-04 Escapes.

The defect may result in a stuck gas pedal, causing unintentional acceleration. This could lead to very serious accidents in Florida and other states. Currently, half a million Ford Escape drivers may be traveling on busy roads for summer vacations with their families or making their daily commute to work.

Ford's planned repair is to use a fastener that raises the engine cover. Adequate clearance will be created, between the cruise control cable and the gas pedal, to prevent the problem from happening. However, the replacement parts will not be available for several more weeks. Ford has recommended that drivers who are immediately concerned about this defect can have the cruise control cable disconnected by an authorized Ford dealer until the parts are available to correct the problem.

The Center for Auto Safety claims that this is not an adequate response. The NHTSA should mandate that Ford not only replace the faulty cables in their vehicles, but also pay the maximum fine of $17 million for not recalling the vehicles in 2005 when they first became aware of the serious defect. According to the center, if Ford had issued a recall sooner, several accidents could have been prevented, including an accident that killed a teenage girl.

The NHTSA is urging consumers to address the defect as soon as possible. The NHTSA will also assess the adequacy of Ford's recall, to make sure the company is adequately addressing safety in their Escapes and protecting American consumers when they are traveling.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "Ford recalls 421,000 Escapes; consumer group calls for fine," Jerry Hirsch, July 26, 2012

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