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NHTSA Alerted to Toyota Problems in 2007

Feb 9, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP

Federal regulators were alerted to problems with Toyota vehicles and sudden acceleration by State Farm Insurance in 2007, a full year before pushing the automaker to issue a recall.

According to The Washington Post report, State Farm tracks claim data and voluntarily share that data with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Toyota unintended acceleration reports that prompted the 2007 alert to the agency were characterized by State Farm as “numerous” and not “everyday” occurrences.

An NHTSA spokesperson told the Washington Post that it had received a claim letter from State Farm in September 2007 regarding a Camry crash, and that the information was added to the agency’s complaint database. The NHTSA was already investigating the Camry issue, and the investigation ultimately resulted in a small recall. However, the spokesperson would not comment on any other alerts it received from State Farm.

As of January 2010, Toyota has recalled a total 5.3 million vehicles in the U.S. due to incidents of dangerous, unintended acceleration. On January 21, Toyota recalled 2.3 million vehicles due to accelerator pedals on those vehicles becoming stuck in a depressed position, causing unexpected and unsafe acceleration.

Just a few months prior, in September 2009, Toyota announced it was recalling and replacing floor mats on approximately 4.2 million vehicles which were allegedly causing accelerator pedals in the vehicles to become stuck in the depressed position, leading to uncontrollable and rapid acceleration of the vehicle.

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