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Toyota Set to Issue Massive Recall Over Deadly Floor Mats

Sep 30, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP

Toyota is poised to recall 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles because of defective floor mats.  According to the Detroit Free Press, the recall will be the  automaker's largest ever U.S. safety recall.

Earlier this month, we reported that Toyota had advised its Lexus and Toyota dealers to inspect the installation of floor mats in certain vehicles.  The warning was issued following a fatal accident in San Diego, California that  may have occurred when a floor mat in a Lexus ES 350 sedan was caught in the vehicle's gas pedal, leading to an unintended acceleration.  The accident killed a California state trooper and three of his family members.

According to the Free Press, Toyota will be issuing the massive recall once the automaker determines how best to implement it.  But the company and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood are urging owners of seven vehicle lines to immediately remove driver side floor mats, particularly if they are unsecured.  The vehicles affected by this issue are:

2007-2010 Camry
2005-2010 Avalon
2004-2009 Prius
2005-2010 Tacoma
2007-2010 Tundra
2007-2010 ES 350
2006-2010 IS 250 and IS 350

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), it has received reports of 102 incidents in Toyota vehicles from 2004-09 model years involving floor mats interfering with pedals.  A third of those incidents involved the Lexus ES 350, the Free Press said.

This will not be the first time Toyota has recalled vehicles because of a floor mat issue.  As we reported previously, in 2007, the automaker recalled 55,000 Camrys and Lexus ES 350s in the U.S., replacing floor mats it said could slip forward and snag the gas pedal, causing uncontrolled acceleration.  At the time of the recall, there were some 40 complaints concerning all-weather floor-mats in certain vehicles not being secured and slipping under the acceleration pedal. The problem was implicated  eight crashes that injured 12 people.

According to the Free Press, the NHTSA has opened 11 investigations into sudden acceleration issues at Toyota since 2003.

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