The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is launching an investigation into 310,000 older model Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable vehicles after reports of unintended sudden acceleration. According to an article in the Detroit News, the federal auto safety agency is conducting a preliminary investigation on 2000 and 2003 Taurus and Sable models and has so far received 50 complaints regarding incidents involving stuck throttles. The defect is apparently due to the failure of a plastic bracket that holds the speed control cable in place. The vehicles that are a part of this probe are equipped with 3.0L V6 Duratec engines.

The fractured bracket in these vehicles allows the cable to move, which may cause the throttle to stick. A number of these failures occur in vehicles that have more than 100,000 miles on the odometer. So far, no car accidents or injuries have been linked to this potential vehicle defect.

One consumer filed a complaint in March that his wife’s 2002 Taurus could not be slowed down. However, his wife was able to shift the car into neutral and turn the engine off in time to avoid a collision. The owner of 2001 Sable told NHTSA that her car began to suddenly accelerate. That driver was also able to stop by putting the car in neutral.

Prior Sudden Acceleration Probe

This investigation comes at the heels of another probe into 2005-06 Taurus and Sable cars for stuck throttles caused by speed control cable issues. That investigation was concluded after NHTSA investigators determined that drivers were able to stop the vehicles even if the cables failed.

Sudden or unintended acceleration can be a serious problem, which could result in major injuries or even fatalities. It is indeed fortunate that the drivers of these defective vehicles were able to avoid collisions after their cars accelerated suddenly. Toyota Motor Corp. recalled more than 11 million vehicles in the years 2009 and 2010 for unintended acceleration issues caused by sticky gas pedals and faulty floor mats. Nearly 100 people were killed as a result of such unintended acceleration between 2000 and 2010.

Auto Product Liability Issues

If you have been injured due to a vehicle defect, it is crucial that you preserve the vehicle and contact an experienced auto product defect attorney who will work hard to protect your rights and best interests. Injured victims of defective autos can file claims seeking compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress.