Toyota Recall Lawyers
Uncontrolled Sudden Acceleration
UPDATE: January 28, 2010 – Today, Toyota announced the recall of an additional 1.09 million vehicles expanding the recall earlier in January to include additional years and models. The 2009-2010 Venza and 2009-2010 Pontiac Vibe are added to the 13 models previously recalled, while the recall of the Highlander was expanded to include 2008-2010 models. Also this week, Toyota suspended sales of all recalled models.
Over 4 million Toyota and Lexus Vehicles have been recalled for defective floor mats and gas pedal. These defects can lead to uncontrolled acceleration resulting in serious injury or death.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured as the result of a gas pedal malfunction in one of the following recalled vehicles:
- Lexus ES 350
- Lexus IS 250
- Lexus IS 350
- Pontiac Vibe
You may be entitled to substantial financial compensation. Sudden acceleration has been reported by more than 1,000 Toyota and Lexus owners and can result in serious injury and death.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as the result of a gas pedal malfunction in one of these recalled vehicles, please contact our attorneys for a free case evaluation.
Toyota Motor Corp. launched a major new recall Thursday, January 21, 2010, saying a mechanical problem could cause the gas pedals to stick and cause unwanted acceleration in 2.3 million of its vehicles, including recent models of its popular Camry and Corolla sedans.
Most of the vehicles targeted by the new recall were also included in a separate recall of 4.3 million vehicles late last year involving floor mats that could jam the accelerator pedal open. In issuing its latest recall, Toyota has for the first time acknowledged that a mechanical problem could cause its vehicles to accelerate out of control.
"In the past they’ve unequivocally said that floor mats are the problem," said Sean Kane, president of Safety Research & Strategies Inc., which has researched motorist complaints of sudden acceleration. "Now they suddenly find something else to blame."
The Los Angeles Times has reported that at least 19 people had been killed in U.S. accidents involving runaway Toyota and Lexus vehicles, more than all other automakers combined. It also found that complaints of unintended acceleration in Toyota and Lexus vehicles rose sharply after 2001, when the automaker began installing electronic throttle controls.
Kane and other safety experts say there is evidence to suggest that malfunctions by these electronic controls, sometimes known as "drive-by-wire" systems, may be a factor in the rising complaints.
The timing is suspiciously pre-emptive – the company’s feet were about to be singled an hour later by ABC World News Tonight, followed by a Toyota SUA story on ABC Nightline.
More shocking, however, is that in its announcement, the automaker said that it had received “isolated reports” of sticking accelerator pedal mechanisms.
“The condition is rare, but can occur when the pedal mechanism becomes worn and, in certain conditions, the accelerator pedal may become harder to depress, slower to return or, in the worst case, stuck in a partially depressed position.”
The company’s Part 573 Defect Notification throws a little more light on how exactly are these mechanisms sticking:
“Due to the manner in which the friction lever interacts with the sliding surface of the accelerator pedal inside the pedal sensor assembly, the sliding surface of the lever may become smooth during vehicle operation. In this condition, if condensation occurs on the surface, as may occur from heater operation (without A/C) when the pedal assembly is cold, the friction when the accelerator pedal is operated may increase, which may result in the accelerator pedal becoming harder to depress, slower to return, or, in the worst case, mechanically stuck in a partially depressed position. In addition, some of the affected vehicles’ pedals were manufactured with friction levers made of a different material (PA46), which may be susceptible to humidity when parked for a long period in hot temperatures. In this condition, the friction when the accelerator pedal is operated may increase, which may result in the accelerator pedal movement becoming rough or slow to return.”
Toyota’s chronology outlines a problem that surfaced in March 2007 among their European models, appearing at the time “to be a phenomenon predominantly limited to right hand drive vehicles, without A/C equipment, based on the location of the accelerator pedal and the heater duct. Based on the investigation results above, Toyota lengthened the arm of the friction lever and changed its material to prevent smoothing on all vehicles produced in Europe with the subject accelerator pedals starting in mid-August 2009.”
The problem then drifted over the Atlantic and surfaced in October 2009, where more American and Canadian vehicle owners complained and an internal investigation discovered: the North American models had the same friction lever.
There are most likely multiple root causes for Toyota’s SUA problems. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed as the result of a gas pedal malfunction in one of these recalled vehicles, please contact our attorneys for a free case evaluation.
- NHTSA Denial of Defect Petition DP09001, Oct. 27, 2009
- VRTC Memorandum Report EA07-010: 2007 Lexus ES-350 Unintended Acceleration
- Toyota Consumer Advisory, Sept. 29, 2009
- Lexus Consumer Advisory, Sept. 29, 2009
- NHTSA Floor Mat Consumer Advisory, Sept. 29, 2009
- NHTSA Inspection of Santee, CA Crash