According to a Bloomberg report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has upgraded an investigation into complaints of unintended acceleration lodged against Ford vehicles. The investigation began in June of 2010 when just three complaints had been received and it only concerned the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan, but this was at a time when the phrase "unintended acceleration" made grown men go pale. With 49 additional complaints received since then, the investigation has been reclassified as an engineering analysis – the last phase before a recall – and it has been expanded to include the Lincoln MKZ, making for a total of "around 480,000" units affected between the three sedans from the 2008 to 2010 model years.

The ostensible cause is that floor mats are trapping the accelerator pedal, but according to a Ford statement at the time, the entrapment is due to owners placing the optional all-weather floor mats, or aftermarket floor mats, on top of the car's standard floor mats. NHTSA has backed up that assessment, pinning the blame on "unsecured or double stacked floor mats."

On the face of it, it would appear that NHTSA has upgraded the status not because of Ford's error, but owner error, and Ford has stated publicly that it is "disappointed" in NHTSA's move. On top of NHTSA still being skittish after that other unintended acceleration debacle, it could be seen to be taking its time investigating all of the variables: it's reported that Ford changed its accelerator pedal design in 2010, a "heel blocker" in the floorpan has been considered a potential culprit in how the floor mats could be trapping the pedal, some drivers have said the floor mats weren't anywhere near the pedal, and according to a report in the LA Times, in "a letter sent by Ford to NHTSA in August 2010, the automaker said it found three injuries and one fatality that 'may have resulted from the alleged defect.'"

If that last part is true, that's strange enough by itself; in June 2010 there were apparently only three complaints in total, but two months later Ford was supposedly saying there might – let's emphasize might – be three injuries and a death involved. This sounds like the kind of thing that could take a while to sort out. Ford has said it is cooperating fully with the investigation.


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  • 36 Comments
      Zoom
      • 2 Years Ago
      Everytime I go to the dealer for service and they have to remove the floor mats they NEVER hook the driver's mat back to the anchor. The service dept just tosses it in and it then interferes with the gas pedal. Luckily my gas pedal is floor mounted and I just yank the mat back and mount it. Still, it's unnerving. Why can't these service techs be trained properly!
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Dean Hammond
        • 2 Years Ago
        Fords solution is two buttons which correlate to to receptabcles on the mats themselves, if one does NOT remove the carpeted floormats the All weather "float" and are loose....if done CORRECTLY, AS PER THE INSTRUCTIONS theres NO WAY mats can slip forward
      biopsea
      • 2 Years Ago
      got my f-150 washed the other day. have all weather plastic liners(high quality from macneil automotive) which are secured using the factory mechanism. however, the kind staff at the carwash managed to put it over the accelerator. didnt notice until it felt like the car was holding revs as i pulled out. scary
      That Guy
      • 2 Years Ago
      Funny how it's a non-issue when it involves a POS Ford product. But when it's Toyota, the pitchforks come out and people are calling for Toyota's head (BTW, it was floor mats and driver error in Toyota's case too). And isn't it nice to know that Ford LEAD THE INDUSTRY from either 1990-1991 all the way until 2002 in unintended acceleration complaints to the NHTSA. So there is a clear, well documented history of Fords taking of on their own.
      Klink
      • 2 Years Ago
      Frankly the management at Ford should be ousted and driven off with pitch forks!! Multiple disastrous recalls on new product, and continued development of product that may be prone to user pedal misapplication tells me that Ford simple sat back and laughed all the way to the bank in 2011...rather than working with engineering to ensure that they TOO wouldn't be caught up by pedal entrapment issues. Massive FAIL. MASSIVE!
      rollie
      • 2 Years Ago
      Pedal size is a problem in almost every new car. Footwell size has been reduced, and the pedal size accordingly. Grandpa never had a problem in his old '56 Olds. Why? Look at how BIG the pedals were! Simple solution is to make the footwell size bigger and pedals with it. Just my view...so vote me down.
      Diz
      • 2 Years Ago
      This country is gradually sinking to the level of its most retarded and incompetent citizenry. Floor mats. What's next - Washer fluid?
        kevsflanagan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Diz
        You'd be surprised at how many people still to this day poor coolant into their washer fluid reservoir.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        jtav2002
        • 2 Years Ago
        Which recall free manufacturer to suggest people buy?
        M5_4_life
        • 2 Years Ago
        Agreed! My neighbor's wife just crashed her 2 wk old 2013 supped up Accord EX-L w/ Navigation. Her excuse? She thought the blind side feature will warn her of other drivers so she didn't look before changing lanes....WOW!
      Brian
      • 2 Years Ago
      My 2007 Fusion came from the factory with an unintended acceleration by-pass. It's called a clutch pedal.
        Brodz
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Brian
        So do Auto's... The Neutral Gear, but no one thinks to use it when UA occurs. Oreven when cruise Control locks on. Driver training could also be investigated as a fault. I agree though that the clutch is better. More natural, and instinctual.
        carguy1701
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Brian
        Look at me, I drive a manual transmission car, that gives me the right to be an elitist prick.
          Brian
          • 2 Years Ago
          @carguy1701
          Wow, looks like someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. There was nothing elitist about what I said by the way. I was just stating a fact. Having a clutch allows you to disconnect the engine from the driveline thereby eliminating the problem of unintended acceleration.
      Cruising
      • 2 Years Ago
      Again with floor mats, this is a indusrty problem that has plagued every car maker seems like. Why does the industry does not adapt ditching carpeting and floor mats for the driver side instead just have a thin easy to clean slighlty grippy rubber covering in it's place.
        luigi.tony
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Cruising
        like the Honda Element.
        Stephen Liu
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Cruising
        The problem is people stacking on more floormats than they should or using aftermarket floormats that can't be secured, not the design of the car itself.
      xspeedy
      • 2 Years Ago
      How long before floor mats disappear from new car offerings?
      carguy1701
      • 2 Years Ago
      >2012 >still thinking it was the floormats I shiggy diggy. Seriously, I ******* hate 60 Minutes for airing that story. Now it seems like every other week there is some retard who can't drive claiming 'hurr durr my car accelerated when it wasn't supposed to it and every other car like it are unsafe gib money pl0x'. It was operator error in the late 80s (when Audi was accused), it was operator in the Toyota cases, and it will always and forever be operator error.
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