Currently, more than a dozen Toyota models are being recalled or investigated for problems ranging from sticking accelerator pedals, steering issues, floor mats and brake pedals. The majority of the nearly eight million vehicles recalled are related to a sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) problem that the company linked to faulty gas pedals and floor mats.
At the heart of the issue is when both Toyota and NHTSA first became aware of these myriad design issues, and how Toyota responded to protect its vehicle’s owners. It is becoming apparent that Toyota’s problems span many years, makes and models with no single root-cause.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration first began investigating SUA in 2003 in Lexus models and Toyota Camry, Tacoma and Sienna vehicles. In some cases, improperly installed all-weather accessory floor mats or vehicle trim were found to blame for interfering with the accelerator pedal. According to Safety Research Strategies, Inc., Toyota launched two small recall campaigns in 2005 and 2007. The first corrected an accelerator that could stick in Lexus IS250 vehicles; the second replaced all-weather floor mats in a limited group of 2007 and 2008 Lexus and Camry vehicles. More recently, under growing public pressure, Toyota has initiated much larger recalls to redesign floor mats, shorten the accelerator pedal, and in some vehicles, install a brake override feature. The automaker has also launched a second recall for sticky accelerator pedals.
Congress is opening an investigation into whether Toyota was slow to take action, or whether NHTSA failed to identify trends and problems. Toyota’s rapid rise as one of the world’s top automakers, and rapid growth worldwide could have contributed to its slip in quality control.
As Automotive Defect attorneys we can help
At the Didier Law Firm we have extensive experience in handling a wide variety of automotive defect cases, including sudden unintended acceleration claims. In fact, the firm had the privilege of representing a client directly affected by this safety issue, litigating an early SUA incident that was investigated and confirmed by NHTSA. If we can be of assistance to you in evaluating or pursuing a sudden unintended acceleration claim, please do not hesitate to contact us.