Preliminary Investigation on Ford Taurus image

Safety regulators opened an investigation on about 360,000 Ford Taurus sedans concerning a problem with the throttle getting stuck in an open position.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decided to open the investigation on the models years 2005 and 2006 after receiving 14 consumer complaints about incidents of a stuck throttle resulting from cruise control cable detachment. This is only a preliminary investigation but it could lead to a recall if regulators determine that a manufacturer needs to address a safety issue.

The complaints allege engine speeds as high as about 4,000 revolutions per minute after shifting the car into park or neutral, according to documents filed with NHTSA. Some drivers declared that it was difficult to slow the car with the service brakes during the incident, and one report indicated that when the car was finally stopped, it was partially in an intersection after going through a red light. The only solutions to stop the cars were to shut off the engine or shift into neutral.

The investigation is likely to be expanded to include the Sable, the Taurus’ twin from the defunct Mercury brand. NHTSA said in a statement that investigations generally include cars that use the same parts as cars under investigation.