The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Ford Motor Company recently settled a dispute about a recall of 2001-2004 model year Ford Escape vehicles that the NHTSA said was unreasonably delayed, according to a recent article in Auto Remarketing.
The purpose of recalls is to fix hidden defects in vehicles or any of their parts. Experienced Kentucky auto product liability attorneys know how dangerous hidden defects can be, especially since most drivers cannot detect a defective part until it has already caused damage. Because recalls are crucial to motorist safety, they must be conducted in a timely manner to prevent accidents and protect those who use the affected vehicles.
The Ford Escape recall focused on a problem with the vehicle’s acceleration. The NHTSA investigation concluded that the throttle was becoming stuck open, causing the vehicle to accelerate, because there was inadequate clearance between the speed control cable connector and the engine cover. In its recall notice to Ford, the NHTSA instructed the company to begin a recall no later than August 6, 2012. In documents dated June 28, 2013, however, the NHTSA noted that Ford had not yet launched the expected recall.
Contrary to the NHTSA’s evaluation, Ford has argued that the delay did not violate the federal Safety Act, noting that replacement parts took some time to acquire. Nevertheless, the automaker recently paid $17.35 million to settle its dispute with NHTSA, according to the agency. The agreement does not release Ford from any civil or criminal liability if the stuck accelerators cause injury or death.
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