It looks as though Ford (and Mazda) may be under fire again for its SUVs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating over 700,000 2001 to 2004 Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute crossovers for potential unintended acceleration.
According to Bloomberg, the investigation comes after the Center for Automotive Safety asked Ford to recall Escapes dues to a "lethal cruise control cable defect." Mazda's Tribute is twinned with the Ford Escape, was built alongside it, and has no mechanical differences, so it gets lumped in with any recalls or investigations that affect the Escape. Complaints around this investigation and a past recall involve the throttle not returning to idle after the accelerator pedal has been released; the previous recall had involved an accelerator cable defect.
NHTSA has already received 99 complaints regarding unintended acceleration in Escapes and Tributes, says Bloomberg. Within those complaints are reports of 13 crashes, eight injuries, and even one death. Mazda and Ford both told us that they are cooperating with NHTSA's investigation and will do anything as needed to help aid the administration, but is not currently planning on issuing a recall.
Toyota took the spotlight in 2009 and 2010 when it recalled more than 10 million vehicles from its Toyota and Lexus brands for unintended acceleration. While Ford's potential recall wouldn't be quite as large, NHTSA is currently estimating that some 730,000 Escapes and Tributes could be affected this time around.