Ford is recalling 424,164 2000-2002 model year Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable cars fitted with adjustable pedals and built between May 3, 1999, and September 14, 2001.

The company said that some of the cars may have less lateral space between the brake pedal and accelerator than others, resulting in drivers confusing the accelerator pedal for the brake. Dealers will check the pedals and adjust them if they're less than two inches (50mm) apart.

Reports in the US said that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had been investigating the problem since March while Ford spokesman Todd Nissen told reporters that the problem had caused 18 accidents, injuring two people.

The reports added that 369,614 of the affected cars were sold in the United States. Ford found that variations in manufacturing tolerances could lead to different spacing between the pedals.

The adjustable function, which allows drivers to simultaneously move the brake and accelerator closer or farther away from them, does not affect lateral spacing, Ford added.

The company introduced power adjustable pedals on 2000 model year Taurus (optional) and Sable (standard) lines and claims they are one of the most popular features.

Separately, according to reports, NHTSA is investigating around 700,000 1999-2002 model year Honda Accords due to a potential driver seat electrical adjustment problem. If a bracket breaks, the seat can move rearwards without warning.

NHTSA investigations sometimes end with a recall but are often closed without identifying alleged defects.

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