Toyota Acceleration Problem May Be Due to More than Floor Mats

ABC News reports that Toyota owners across the nation are furious about the car company’s explanation for the “runaway car” accidents caused by sudden acceleration up to speeds of 100 miles per hour. More than 2,000 cases have been reported in which cars accelerated without warning. Cars implicated include the Camry, Prius, and Lexus. Toyota acceleration accidents have caused over 200 accidents and 16 deaths.

Toyota said that the accidents were caused by the floor mats getting stuck under the gas pedals and announced a recall accordingly. Owners, however, tell a different story. They say that it was another type of problem, and they suspect that it is related to a glitch in the electronic system that controls the throttle.

“I’m absolutely certain that in my situation, it was not the floor mats,” said Elizabeth James, who was driving her Prius outside of Denver when it suddenly sped up to 90 miles per hour, even though her foot was pressing down on the brake pedal.

“I kept going faster and faster,” she said. “And all of a sudden, my foot was pressing on the brake super, super hard, and I wasn’t slowing down.”

A statement from Toyota said: “Some news reports suggest there may be other causes of unintended acceleration, speculating about electronic engine control systems, braking performance or electro-magnetic inference among other theories. There is no evidence to support these theories.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has investigated the acceleration problems in Toyotas, but they have not found any electronic defects. The U.S. Department of Transportation recently said that this matter is not closed and released the following statement: “Toyota has announced a safety recall involving 3.8 million vehicles in which the accelerator pedal may become stuck at high vehicle speeds due to interference by the driver’s side floor mat, which is obviously a very dangerous situation. Toyota has written to vehicle owners stating that it has decided that a safety defect exists in their vehicles and asking owners to remove all floor mats while the company is developing a remedy. We believe consumers should follow Toyota's recommendation to address the most immediate safety risk. However, removal of the mats is simply an interim measure, not a remedy of the underlying defect in the vehicles. NHTSA is discussing with Toyota what the appropriate vehicle remedy or remedies will be. This matter is not closed until Toyota has effectively addressed the vehicle defect by providing a suitable remedy.”

Many Toyota owners believe that an electronic defect is the real problem. Owner Bulent Ezai was driving his Camry in California when it accelerated and drove off a 100 foot cliff into the ocean. “All of a sudden the car surged with force, and I was thrown back to the seat,” Ezai said. He survived, but his wife did not. He remembers hearing his wife screaming just before he blacked out. Toyota says that Ezai accidentally pushed the gas pedal. Ezai says that his foot was “absolutely, positively on the brake.”

You may have heard the 911 call from California Highway patrol officer Mark Saylor’s brother-in-law, who was in the backseat of a Lexus borrowed from a dealership when the car accelerated to more than 100 miles an hour. Saylor was driving, and his wife and daughter were also in the car. In the 911 call, the brother-in-law said, “Our accelerator is stuck. We’re in trouble… There’s no brakes.” He then said they were approaching an intersection. The Lexus hit another car, crashed into an embankment and burst into flames. All four passengers died. Toyota attributed the accident to the floor mats.

If you know of someone injured in one of these accidents or by another defective product, contact an experienced Georgia personal injury lawyer immediately. Call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule a free consultation.