WASHINGTON (May 3, 2010)—The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a preliminary evaluation into possible sticky accelerator pedals in about 161,000 Dodge Caliber vehicles, model year 2007.
NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation has received five reports of accelerator pedals in Dodge Calibers that became stuck during driving and did not return to the idle position when released. Dodge Calibers from the 2007 model year are equipped with electronic throttle control pedal assemblies from CTS Corp., NHTSA said, and four of the complainants said that the bushings which act as bearings for the pivot shaft of the accelerator pedal arm were lying on the driver's side floor.
The new investigation follows closely on the recall of millions of Toyota and Lexus vehicles for accelerator pedal sticking problems. NHTSA assessed Toyota Motor Corp. a $16.4 million fine for alleged slowness in reporting the problem to the agency. Based on the Toyota recall, both the Senate and the House of Representatives have drafted vehicle safety bills that, among other things, would increase public availability of “early warning” reporting data from auto and tire makers and give NHTSA the authority to declare immediate recalls if it believes motorists are in sufficient danger from vehicle defects.