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Ford expands F-150 recall in response to NHSTA pressure

Ford has issued a recall of over one million F-150 pickup trucks after mass reports of injuries from random, unwarranted airbag deployment. In February, Ford recalled 150,000 trucks, but the automaker resisted government efforts to expand the voluntary recall. However, receiving mass public criticism for its handling of the Toyota sudden acceleration issues, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration was not willing to allow Ford to handle the airbag defects on its own terms.

The recall covers 1.2 million F-150s from the 2004, 2005 and 2006 model years. According to Ford, an electrical short has been causing the trucks' airbags to inflate at random times, even when the vehicle has not been involved in a crash. The NHTSA says that there have been almost 270 cases of sudden airbag deployment, which have resulted in approximately 100 injuries ranging from burns and bruises to broken arms and elbows.

After the initial recall in February, Ford attempted to stall the inevitable large-scale F-150 recall. However, the NHTSA threatened to hold a rare public hearing on the airbag defects and to issue massive fines if Ford did not issue the recall. Industry observers say that the NHTSA would not have been so aggressive toward Ford if it had not received such intense criticism for its handling of the Toyota safety issues and series of recalls.

The recall also covers 16,000 Lincoln LT pickup trucks from the 2006 model year. Owners of the vehicles covered by the recall should take their trucks to a dealer, where Ford will replace an air bag wire in the steering wheel at no cost.

If you or a family member has been injured by defective vehicle, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation.

Source: NBC, "Ford Widens Recall of F-150 Pickup to Nearly 1.2M", Tom Krisher, 14 April 2011

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