How Ford's unintended acceleration lawsuit affects you
If you bought or leased one or more vehicles manufactured by Ford Motor Company, in the United States, between 2002 and 2010, your vehicle may be at risk for sudden unintended acceleration caused by dangerous design defects and the absence of necessary protections that have resulted in vehicle collision, deaths, and injuries to occupants and pedestrians. If you bought or leased a Ford vehicle during that time period, you have likely suffered material financial harm, having paid more for your vehicle than you would have paid, or having bought or leased a vehicle you otherwise would not have, had you been aware of the defect.
What could have been done regarding the unintended acceleration in Ford's vehicles?
The Ford vehicles at issue, equipped with Electronic Throttle Control ("ETC"), lack adequate failsafe features, notably a Brake Over Accelerator ("BOA") system. An adequate BOA system would allow a driver to slow a vehicle experiencing sudden unintended acceleration by simply pushing on the brake pedal.
ETC, sometimes referred to as a “drive-by-wire,” is a complex system comprised of sensors, integrated circuits, microprocessors, electronic components, and computers designed to electronically control the operation of a vehicle’s throttle. The ETC completely eliminates a driver’s ability to directly control the throttle solely by depressing and releasing the accelerator pedal. Ford has used the same general architecture for its ETC since first introducing this feature on its gasoline-powered vehicles in its 2003 model year.
Ford has received hundreds, if not thousands, of reports from owners of affected vehicles with these electronics, including police departments, showing that its “drive-by-wire” electronics were bypassing design features in this system that were supposed to provide owners with “failsafe” protection against a potential catastrophic loss of throttle control.
Is Brake Over Accelerator ("BOA") really the answer?
Other car manufacturers were already equipping their vehicles with BOA systems before the 2003 model year, and Ford itself began installing BOA systems in certain Ford vehicles that it manufactured for the European market as far back as 2005. Despite the availability of a failsafe system such as a BOA, and its technological feasibility for Ford, the company failed to implement such a system in vehicles it manufactured until 2010 (when Ford finally began installing a BOA system on some of its North American vehicles). Installing BOA systems on its ETC-equipped vehicles earlier could have prevented these instances of sudden unintended acceleration that have resulted in serious safety risks, injuries, and death, and in the drastic reduction of the value paid for these vehicles.
What is Ford doing about this issue?
Despite Ford’s knowledge of the defective and unreasonably dangerous nature of its ETC system and the risk it posed—and continues to pose as many thousands of these vehicles continue to be driven all across North America today—Ford continued to design, manufacture, advertise, market, sell, and lease vehicles with ETC systems and no proper failsafe override, such as a BOA. The company has concealed from consumers and the government the problems with its ETC system, has failed to provide warnings and instructions to owners and lessees of its vehicles, and continues to misrepresent information about sudden acceleration events.
Want to know if you have a valid legal claim against Ford?
If you now own or lease, or previously owned or leased, a vehicle or vehicles manufactured by Ford in any year from 2002 through 2010, please contact Grant & Eisenhofer P.A. to discuss your potential claim by submitting the contact form or by calling us at 866-365-8533.
Please visit Grant & Eisenhofer to learn more about us and our expert consumer claims practice.