April 24, 2002

Safety organization investigates position of Taurus gas, brake pedals

Washington, D.C. – The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) is beginning an investigation into whether the accelerator and brake pedals on some 2000 and 2001 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable sedans are too close together. The investigation involves approximately 400,000 cars.

According to the NHTSA, twenty-two people have complained that they accidentally hit the accelerator when trying to brake. More than half of the complaints were from owners of the Mercury Sable (not sold in Canada) which has standard power adjustable pedals – a feature that is optional on the Taurus. Power adjustable pedals allow shorter drivers to sit at a safe distance from the steering wheel and still reach the pedals.

There have been three reported crashes, but no injuries. Ford is cooperating with the NHTSA in the initial investigation.

The NHTSA also opened investigations into the following vehicles:

  • 2002 Chevy TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy and Oldsmobile Bravada: there have been reports that a wiring problem in the steering column can cause the lights, wipers and cruise control to stop working.

  • 1997 Nissan Maxima. Five Maxima owners have complained about engine fires started by the alternator.
  • 2002 Nissan Xterra. A complaint about a driver’s side air bag not working properly led Nissan to send a bulletin to its dealers telling them how to fix the problem.
  • 1998-2000 Kia Sephia. Six Sephia owners reported fires caused by a spark when a battery cable contacted the dipstick tube.

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