Ford Motor Company announced that they are recalling almost half a million Escape models after concerns over a potentially deadly sticking accelerator pedal issue.
Yahoo News reports that the recall affects 2001 to 2004 models that have 3-liter, V-6 engines with cruise control. The recall covers 484,600 of the company’s compact SUVs, and was ordered after safety inspectors found that the accelerator’s speed control cables can become stuck on an engine cover when the pedal is almost fully depressed.
The issue came to the attention of the National Traffic Safety Board after a Ford Escape crash claimed the life of 17-year-old Saige Bloom in Arizona.
The teen lost control of her SUV and crashed on a local road. Moments before the crash, Bloom’s mom, who was driving in the car behind her, made a frantic 911 call, saying:
“She cannot stop. We’re coming to a red light and I don’t know what to do for her.”
Moments later, Saige Bloom plowed into another car, rolling three times. She later passed away from her injuries. An inspector that was hired by the young teen’s family discovered that the vehicle’s speed control cable had broken and was lodged under the engine cover, meaning that the throttle was stuck at near full speed.
According to The Huffington Post, this is the third recall in just two weeks for the Ford Escape, which was the U.S.’s top-selling SUV in June. Ford issued a recall of 11,500 of its 2013 models with 1.6-liter engines last week, because the SUV’s fuel lines can crack and leak gasoline, causing fires. Also, a few days before that, the auto manufacturer recalled 10,000 2013 to fix carpet padding that has the potential to interfere with braking.
Ford spokeswoman Marcey Zwiebel said that, in order for the cruise control cable issue to occur, the cables must have been bent or somehow moved from their original position. This can happen when the vehicle is serviced. Zwiebel stated:
“This is not a situation where the engine would accelerate or go into a wide-open state on its own.”
In order to fix the Ford Escape accelerator issue, dealers will be replacing the fasteners on the vehicle’s engine cover, raising it to allow plenty of room for the cruise control cable. It will take a few weeks for dealers to receive adequate parts, so Escape owners can take their SUVs to dealers, who will disconnect the cruise control temporarily, eliminating the risk of the problem occurring.