Floor mats sold with 480,000 Ford (NYSE:F), Lincoln and Mercury cars are being investigated for a potentially dangerous defect.
The floor mats — sold with 2008-2010 model-year Ford Fusions, Mercury Milans and Lincoln MKZs — can cause surprise acceleration if not secured properly to the floorboards, The New York Times reports. The floor mats can be nudged forward by the driver’s foot and can push the gas pedal.
A report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration details 52 complaints that the agency has received concerning the floor mats. No accidents have been reported due to the floor mats, but in all cases those complaining reported that the mats prevented the gas pedal from returning to idle. Drivers report stopping the acceleration by either shifting to neutral or turning the car off.
A possible explanation for the trouble comes from the design of the floor pan in the cars. The shape of the pan allows an unsecured floor mat to ride up and over the pedals.
A letter to the NHTSA last year from Ford’s Global Director of Automotive Safety said the company didn’t consider the floor mats’ design an “unreasonable risk” to safety because it was easily corrected by drivers with a tap on the gas pedal.