It’s now the turn of Ford Motor Company to face increased heat over several reported incidents of stuck accelerator pedals in its Fusion vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced that it has begun a preliminary investigation into reports of gas pedal entrapment by floor mats. Approximately 249,301 units of Fusion vehicles are included in the investigation.
The agency says it has received at least three verified complaints, alleging that the accelerator pedals in the Ford Fusion vehicles became trapped by unsecured all-weather floor mats. All Fusion cars of the current model year are included in the investigation.
In April, Dan Edmunds of Edmunds.com reported one such incident while he was driving his Fusion. He noticed that the gas pedal became stuck for a period of 3 to 4 seconds while he was driving. Edmonds then conducted experimental testing, and found the same results. He posted the results on his website. In Edmonds case, the all weather floor mats had been stacked on the standard mats.
For now, the agency is asking consumers not to place the all weather floor mats on the standard mats, but to remove the standard mats first. Ford Motor Company says it does not recommend stacking of floor mats under any circumstances.
The complaints that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received have not involved any accidents, injuries or fatalities. But after the Toyota fiasco when California class action lawyers, the media and the public lambasted the agency for its failure to take action after the initial reports of the stuck gas pedals, the agency is taking no chances.
It was known even at the peak of the Toyota pedal crisis that the Japanese automaker was not the only company whose vehicles had problems with sticking gas pedals. General Motors and Chrysler vehicles too have also been linked to the sudden unintended acceleration problem, although these have not resulted in deaths in the same manner that the Toyota problem has. They've also been very few injuries, linked to stuck accelerator pedals in vehicles by other companies.