Teen death in Arizona sparks NHTSA probe of 2002-04 Ford Escape

Article by Anita Panait, on July 19, 2012

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is conducting an investigation on Ford Escape for possible unintended acceleration, prompted by a January crash involving the sports utility vehicle that killed 17-year-old girl Saige Bloom in Arizona. Covered in NHTSA’s investigation are Escapes and Mazda Tributes, including 2002 models like the one that crashed in January.

NHTSA has received 99 complaints -- including 13 crashes, eight injuries and one death -- about unintended acceleration in older Ford Escape models. NHTSA’s probe followed a July 10 letter sent by Center for Automotive Safety executive director Clarence Ditlow to Ford chief executive Alan Mulally, asking him to recall all Escapes from model years 2002 to 2004 due to a "lethal cruise control cable defect."

Ditlow urged Mullaly to exercise moral leadership by recalling all Ford Escapes with the defective cruise control cable in the 2002-2004 model years to prevent more deaths and injuries. 

Eight previous NHTSA investigations also had the Ford Escape 2002 model year as subject, according to the agency's database. The probe covered a multitude of complaints against the Escape, like engine stalling, an electrical short in the antilock brake system and leaking brake fluid. Other complaints include the failure of the throttle to return to idle when the accelerator pedal is released as well as an accelerator cable assembly defect.

Topics: nhtsa

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