When a motor vehicle company either discovers a faulty part in their vehicles, or receives complaints about faulty parts in their vehicles, they issue a recall. Consumers are notified to bring their vehicles to a dealership to either have the part replaced or repaired. Unfortunately, there are times when these recalls are not made soon enough, and people suffer injuries and sometimes even death as a result of the faulty products.
Ford Motor Company issued a recall last month for 2001-2004 Ford Escapes because the cruise control has a sticky wire that can cause the vehicle’s accelerator to stick and speed out of control. Approximately 500,000 3-liter V6 models have been recalled. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 99 instances of this happening have been found, and the organization has received 68 complaints for this issue.
A report from NHTSA states the the defect in the Escapes may be connected to thirteen accidents that included nine injuries and one fatality.
The fatality occurred north of Phoenix, Arizona, when a teen, who had just purchased a used Ford Escape, was driving it back to her home in the town of Payson, about one hour north of the Phoenix metro area.
Saige Bloom, a junior at Payson High School, had just purchased the vehicle and was driving to her home when the accelerator stuck. Just before one in the afternoon, Bloom called her mother, who was following in her own car, as she was traveling north approaching Payson, informing her that she was having a mechanical problem with the car. She told her mom that she could not get the car stopped and that the Escape was accelerating on its own. Bloom’s mother called the police to alert them to the problem. Police raced to clear intersections as the 17-year-old girl entered town, which led some motorists to believe the officers were involved in a chase. According to police, the teen’s car was going approximately 55-60 mph, in a 35 mph zone.
Several motorists reported they were nearly struck by Bloom’s SUV while it sped down Beeline Highway, the main street through Payson. Unfortunately for one family, they were sitting in the center lane of the highway, waiting to pull into a fast food restaurant when Bloom’s SUV headed straight for them. Joanna Carroll, the driver in the car, said that somehow the young driver managed to not only miss her, but maneuver the out-of-control Escape through cars without causing injury.
However, Bloom’s luck soon ran out and she clipped the fender of a vehicle turning onto the highway from Wal-Mart. This caused Bloom’s Escape to roll several times, which resulted in Bloom, who was not wearing a seat belt, being thrown from the SUV. Bloom was airlifted to Phoenix in critical condition. The next day, she was taken off life support.
Perhaps if this young driver had more driving experience, she would have had the knowledge of what to do in this situation. Unfortunately, she did not, and she died as a result of the defective Escape.
Ford said in a statement, “Should drivers experience what they believe is a stuck throttle, they should firmly and steadily apply the brakes without pumping the brake pedal, shift to neutral, steer the vehicle to a safe location, shut the engine off and place the transmission in park after the vehicle is safely stopped.”
Although this recall is for older Escapes, Ford is launching its all new 2013 Escape model, which already has under gone two recalls recently. With the dangers of the older Escapes and with two recent recalls, consumers may be leery of purchasing this new model of the Ford Escape.