Ford Taurus Under Investigation For Possible Unintended Acceleration

The Ford Taurus is under investigation for potential unintended acceleration issues. Some 360,000 vehicles could be involved in the probe being conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Ford Taurus vehicles from model years 2005 and 2006 have been involved in at least 14 complaints over what consumers described as detached cruise control cables and sticking throttles, said The Chicago Tribune. No injuries or crashes were reported.

The probe was opened today, according to federal regulators, which said that some drivers had problems bringing their vehicles to a stop with the brakes and had to shut off the engine or shift into neutral, said The Tribune. In one case, a driver was forced to go through a red light before being able to bring the car to a stop at an intersection. The 2005 Taurus reached a speed of 70 miles per hour, despite that the driver was depressing the brake pedal with both feet, said The Tribune. The same driver also indicated in the complaint that a similar problem took place earlier in his/her driveway.

“Wow, the scariest thing I have ever experienced,” the driver wrote. “If there was heavy traffic someone would have been killed, no doubt in my mind … I am very fearful to drive it, because you never know when it will do it again,” The Tribune said. Another Taurus owner said that the Taurus engine ran at 4,000 revolutions per minutes (RPMs) when in park, only returning to the normal range—below 1,000 RPM—after tapping on the gas pedal twice, wrote The Tribune.

A recall is not yet planned as the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation conducts a preliminary evaluation, the Tribune noted.

We recently wrote that the NHTSA was recalling 170,000 Ford Freestyle crossover SUVs from model year 2005 through 2007 following 238 complaints and 18 crashes over unintended “lunging” when driving at low speeds and when the gas pedal is not engaged. One crash resulted in minor injuries and a recall was initiated. Of the affected cars sold in the U.S., complaints about unintended acceleration totaled 15,174 from 2000 to March 2010; 141 investigations were prompted since 1980, with most—112—closed with no corrective action, according to NHTSA data compiled for Bloomberg News in 2010.

It its prior recall posted at NHTSA’s website, Ford said that the so-called “lunge” can be stopped by depressing the brake pedal, “but, in some cases, the vehicle has moved as much as 10 feet if the brake was not applied, lightly applied, or applied late,” the NHTSA said. According to a prior Bloomberg News report on that issue, customers complained of the movement occurring in both forward- and backward-moving gears, describing the moves as “sudden and unexpected and generally brief in duration,” the NHTSA said. The lunge appears to be made worse when air conditioning is running or when the steering wheel is sharply turned, added NHTSA.

In addition to a reported injury to a pedestrian in a residential driveway, the NHTSA documented 20 fatalities as far back as 1980 over sudden acceleration claims. Another 51 deaths have been connected to Toyota and another 12 to Chrysler Group LLC over sudden acceleration allegations.

Two years ago, Toyota recalled millions of vehicles for unintended acceleration issues and later announced it was recalling 2.17 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles sold in the U.S. for flaws that could jam gas pedals, leading to instances of unintended acceleration. Worldwide, 14 million Toyota vehicles have been recalled over unintended acceleration issues.

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