NEWS UPDATE: Washington Post, Tuesday, February 16th, 2010 – Toyota hit by new surge of reported fatalities in vehicles (Click to view page)
Since 2009, Toyota Motor Corp. has issued numerous vehicle recalls because of problems involving unintended acceleration. If you own one of these defective Toyota cars or trucks, or you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a Toyota vehicle and unintended acceleration, you may be eligible to join our Toyota recall class action lawsuit.
Joining our Toyota recall class action lawsuit is one way you can hold Toyota accountable for its inadequate response to the unintended acceleration issues associated with its vehicles. Toyota unintended acceleration accidents have injured and killed numerous people. Yet despite receiving reports of such accidents for years, Toyota has failed to fully address this serious safety issue. Instead, the company has blamed these accidents on everything from driver error to faulty floor mats, despite growing evidence that something far more serious is causing acceleration problems.
Even if you have not experienced an accident because of your defective Toyota, the expense and inconvenience you have incurred because of these recalls could still make you eligible for our Toyota recall class action lawsuit. If you have been impacted in anyway by the Toyota recalls, our Toyota recall class action lawsuit lawyers want to hear from you today. We will do everything legally possible to make sure Toyota customers are fully compensated for any physical and financial injuries they sustained.
Toyota Recalls for Unintended Acceleration
Since late 2009, Toyota has issued several recalls because of problems with unintended acceleration. The way these recalls were handled has left many Toyota owners confused.
Toyota first acknowledged unintended acceleration problems in September 2009, when it warned its customers to remove the floor mats from their vehicles because of the potential for them to trap the accelerator, causing sudden acceleration. This was followed by a recall of 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles in the U.S. because floor mats could trap the gas pedal. This recall – the largest in the automaker’s history – involved the 2007-2010 Camry, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2004-2009 Prius, 2005-2010 Tacoma, 2007-2010 Tundra, 2007-2010 Lexus ES350 and 2006-2010 IS250/IS350.
Despite the floor mat recall, Toyota and federal safety officials continued to receive reports of unintended acceleration and stuck pedals even in cases where the floor mats had been removed. One of the most serious incidents occurred just after Christmas, when four people were killed after the Toyota they were in sped out of control and crashed into a pond. Investigators found the vehicle’s floor mats had already been removed, and were stashed in the truck.
Toyota Recalls Vehicles In U.S.
On January 21, 2010, the company recalled 2.3 million Toyota vehicles in the U.S. because the accelerator pedal can stick, causing unintended acceleration. The automaker maintained that the accelerator pedal issue was not related to the floor mat recall, although about 1.7 million of the vehicles are also involved in both recalls. Models involved are the 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, certain 2007-2010 Camrys, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra, 2008-2010 Sequoia.
On January 26, Toyota announced it was suspending production and sales of the eight models involved in the accelerator pedal recall. A day after that announcement, Toyota added 1.09 million models to the floor mat recall. Models involved are the 2008-2010 Highlander, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Venza, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2009-2010 Pontiac Vibe. Finally, on January 28th, Toyota recalled 75,500 vehicles in China over the accelerator pedal problem. The company also said it would recall vehicles in Europe, but did not know how many.
Even as it announced the January recalls, Toyota did not have a fix for the unintended acceleration problem. In fact, it’s doubtful the company even knows exactly what is causing these issues. Toyota has told government officials that it thinks a friction problem in its accelerator pedal mechanisms may make the pedal “harder to depress, slower to return, or, in the worst case, mechanically stuck in a partially depressed position.” But a statement by its supplier, CTS Corp., said that the friction problem accounts for fewer than a dozen cases of stuck accelerators, “and in no instance did the accelerator actually become stuck in a partially depressed condition.
Toyota Criticized for Slow Action, Quality Issues
Many auto experts doubt both the sticky accelerator pedal and floor mat excuses put forth by Toyota, and believe one or more issues related to electronics are behind unintended acceleration problems. Possibilities include the complicated electronic sensors that relay the message from the gas pedal to the engine, the design and location of the sensor system, or a lack of a fail-safe override mechanism. The ETCS-Intelligent System, the vehicles’ electronic throttle-control system is considered a major suspect, and some experts maintain that vehicles equipped with such systems have a dangerous propensity to suddenly and unintentionally accelerate. They point out that unintended acceleration complaints began to increase significantly in 2002, when Toyota began installing the ETCS-I in a broad range of its vehicle lines.
Some Toyota critics have blamed these issues on the company’s rapid expansion in recent years. One Japanese analyst told The New York Times that the recalls weren’t surprising, and that there had been fears that the company was becoming “seriously outstretched” and “lacked the human resources and production capacity” for its expansion efforts.
Finally, allegations have been raised that Toyota knew about issues with unintended acceleration long before it began announcing recalls. As stated previously, such reports began to increase in 2002. What’s more, Toyota has said it learned of problems with accelerator-pedal assemblies from supplier CTS in late 2009, but said they were not enough to warrant a recall. In the past, Toyota has also blamed driver error for accidents involving unintended acceleration.
Toyota Recall Class Action Lawsuit
Some Toyota customers have had to pay a high price because of the carmaker’s failure to fully address the unintended acceleration issue. Toyota faces at least five lawsuits brought by individual plaintiffs claiming deaths or injuries caused by sudden acceleration. In one particularly tragic incident, an off-duty California Highway Patrol Officer and his family were killed when their 2009 Lexus ES 350 sped out of control, plummeted over an embankment and burst into flames. As the vehicle sped out of control, the family desperately called 911, and they can be heard on the 911 tapes asking each other to pray only seconds before their deaths.
Millions of Toyota customers have been put in harms way because of the company’s failure to recognize and deal with its unintended acceleration issues. For those injured or killed in accidents caused by this defect, Toyota’s recall has come much too late. Lives could have been saved had Toyota taken action when it first began to receive reports of these incidents.
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