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NHTSA Warns of Sticking Ford, Mercury Gas Pedals

Trapped accelerator pedals reported in Fusion and Milan sedans.

by on Jun.01, 2010

A newly aggressive safety agency is opening a formal investigation to look at allegations of stuck Ford and Mercury gas pedals.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is warning owners of 2010 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan vehicles not to place any unsecured floor mats on top of the standard, carpeted floor mat in the driver’s side footwell. A stuck gas pedal can result – the same problem that led to Toyota’s recall of millions of vehicles.

In addition, all owners of these vehicles should ensure that any mat used is properly secured and never stacked on top of another mat.

The Fusion is Ford’s best selling car.

The safety agency has received no complaints involving crashes, injuries or fatalities but is opening a preliminary investigation into the problem to look at allegations of Ford and Mercury pedals becoming trapped in the depressed position after a driver releases it to decelerate.

It’s just the latest example of  the broader, industry-wide aftershocks that are the result of Toyota’s cover-up and delay in recalling millions of vehicles for unintended acceleration. (See NHTSA Gets Tough – Forcing Recall of Cadillac SRX ) At least 89 deaths are implicated in the Toyota matter.

Ford’s optional “All Weather” mat should be placed in the driver’s side footwell only after first unfastening and removing the standard, carpeted floor mat. This is the only way to guarantee that the mat is physically secured to the floor. The Ford original equipment floor mats have special attachment opening holes to secure them.

NHTSA has verified three consumer complaints claiming that the mat can slip forward and trap the accelerator pedal. This causes the accelerator pedal to stick, the same condition that led – eventually – to a massive Toyota recall,  accompanied by severe criticism by safety advocates about NHTSA’s failure to act for years over the deadly problem.

NHTSA said the Ford sticking pedal problem is most likely to occur after the driver presses the accelerator pedal “substantially” or when merging or passing in traffic.

Investigators have spoken with consumers and conducted “pre-investigatory fieldwork.”

Depending on vehicle and floor mat design, it is possible for unsecured floor mats to interfere with accelerator or brake pedals in a wide range of vehicles. Therefore, NHTSA reminds all drivers of all makes and models to check the driver-side floor mats for secure installation and to follow all manufacturer instructions for installing the mats.

Actions To Take If  You Cannot Stop

Regardless of the cause, if you are experiencing unintended acceleration, take the following steps:

  • Brake firmly and steadily – do not pump the brake pedal.
  • Shift the transmission into Neutral (know where Neutral is).
  • Steer to a safe location.
  • Shut the engine off.
  • Call your dealer or repair shop to pick up the vehicle. Do not drive it.

For more information, contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Hotline at 888-327-4236 or your  Ford dealer.

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