Not too long ago, Toyota Motor Corp. issued the largest recall in company history – for 3.8 million vehicles – with the focus placed on floor mats in various Toyota and Lexus models. It turns out this recall may just be the tip of the iceberg for a major faulty accelerator issue within numerous Toyota automobiles.
Since 2001, over 1,000 Toyota and Lexus owners have reported problems with their accelerator. These faulty accelerations have led to 19 deaths and multiple serious injuries, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The most publicized accident involved Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor and his three family members tragically dying after their Lexus ES 350 suddenly accelerated to over 100 mph causing a fatal crash. This accident prompted Toyota to issue the floor mat recall, but it appears the floor mat isn’t the root problem. It could be within the actual acceleration system itself.
With reports of serious accidents continuing to stream in, some estimates include over 2,000 incidences relating to sudden acceleration, you’d think Toyota and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) would get down to the bottom of this and fix the problem. Unfortunately, it appears both parties are focused on downplaying the problem rather than solving it.
Federal investigators with the NHTSA closed numerous cases featuring the accelerator issue without a detailed explanation of why it failed. For example, in one instance the NHTSA had 450 complaints but cut that down to 62. Were the overwhelming majority of these complaints simply wrong? How extensive was the review process for these complaints? No one knows for sure.
Jeffrey Pepski requested the NHTSA reopen two investigations that were closed relating to Toyota and Lexus vehicles which featured the sudden acceleration problem. The NHTSA denied his request saying further investigation is “not needed.” Really? Thousands of complaints all revolving around a similar problem, and no additional investigation is needed? That’s highly questionable in my book.
Toyota has at least issued a recall in an effort to alleviate the problem, but the evidence is mounting that this accelerator issue extends far beyond floor mats. It could be a mechanical defect or electrical malfunction inherent in a myriad of Toyota and Lexus models. However, if the heat isn’t placed on Toyota from federal agencies to actually solve the problem, thousands of drivers are at risk and potentially driving in ticking time bombs which could accelerate precipitously at a moment’s notice causing a serious accident. This may seem like a worst case scenario, but the persistent reports of accelerator problems within Toyota can lead one to believe this is a major issue that isn’t even close to being resolved.