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US Probes Ford’s BlueCruise System Following Fatal Accidents

  Norman Taylor & Associates
  May 19, 2024

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched an official investigation into Ford’s advanced assistance system, BlueCruise, after it was linked to multiple fatal crashes involving the company’s Mustang Mach-E electric vehicles.

Key Takeaways: 

  • The crashes resulted in a total of three fatalities, with the NHTSA determining that Blue Cruise was active at the time of the collisions. 
  • The federal agency will evaluate how BlueCruise performs driving tasks and its camera-based driver monitoring system.

What Prompted This NHTSA Investigation?

The NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) has zeroed in on two separate incidents that occurred earlier this year, both of which involved Ford Mustang Mach-E electric vehicles colliding with stationary objects on controlled-access highways during nighttime conditions.


First Accident

In the first crash, which took place on February 24, 2024, in San Antonio, Texas, a Mustang Mach-E struck the rear of a Honda CR-V that was stopped in the middle lane of Interstate 10, resulting in the death of the CR-V’s 56-year-old driver. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is also investigating the incident, Ford’s BlueCruise system was engaged at the time of the collision.

Second Accident

The second fatal accident occurred on March 3, 2024, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where a Mustang Mach-E struck a Hyundai Elantra that had previously collided with a Toyota Prius, killing two people. The Pennsylvania State Police reported that the Mach-E was in the left lane when the crash happened, and a criminal investigation is underway to determine if the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


What Is BlueCruise?

BlueCruise is Ford’s advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) that enables hand-free driving on pre-mapped highways in the United States and Canada. Introduced in 2021, the system uses a combination of cameras and sensors to monitor the car’s surroundings and keep it centered in the lane while automatically adjusting speed to maintain a safe following distance.

However, BlueCruise isn’t a fully autonomous driving system; it requires the driver to remain alert and ready to take control of the vehicle at all times. The system uses a camera-based driving monitoring system to ensure the driver’s eyes are on the road, and it will issue warnings and disengage if the driver becomes distracted or unresponsive.


Which Ford Models Are Affected?

The current NHTSA investigation is specifically focused on the Mustang Mach-E.

The Mustang Mach-E is a mid-size electric crossover introduced in 2020 as part of Ford’s electrification strategy. BlueCruise isn’t exclusive to the Mustang Mach-E; the feature is also available on other Ford models, such as the F-150 pickup truck and the Expedition SUV.


Has Ford Responded?

Ford stated it’s “working with NHTSA to support its investigation.” The automaker has also extended its “deepest sympathies to those involved” in the fatal crashes.


Does the California Lemon Law Apply?

The California Lemon law is a consumer protection statute that provides remedies for consumers who purchase or lease vehicles with persistent defects. To be considered a “lemon,” a car must have a defect that substantially impairs its use, value, or safety and that the manufacturer cannot repair within a reasonable number of attempts.

If the BlueCruise-related crashes are found to be the result of a manufacturing issue, and the affected vehicles meet the Lemon Law’s criteria, owners might be entitled to a refund or replacement vehicle. Consumers should consult a California lemon law attorney to understand their rights and options. 


Schedule a Consultation With Our California Lemon Law Firm Today!

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