Will Toyota Recall Solve the Acceleration Problem?

ABC News reports that Toyota has decided to replace the accelerator pedals on millions of vehicles. But one safety expert says that the pedal replacement will not solve the problem of runaway Toyotas – cars that suddenly accelerate out of control and cannot be stopped by the brake.

Toyota has said that the problem is caused by the accelerator pedal getting caught on the floor mat, and the auto manufacturing company announced that it will change the design of the accelerator pedal along with the design of the floor below the pedal. Toyota stated that these changes “address the root cause of the potential risk for floor mat entrapment of accelerator pedals.”

But safety expert Sean Kane isn’t buying the story from Toyota. He said that the recall fails to address hundreds of cases in which the floor mats cannot be blamed.

“What concerns me is that this recall doesn’t get to the root cause of the non-floor mat sudden acceleration cases,” said Kane, head of Safety Research and Strategies. Kane’s firm has discovered over 2,000 cases of sudden acceleration in Toyotas, including 16 deaths and 243 injuries.

ABC News reports that many Toyota owners are in rebellion, refusing to accept Toyota’s explanation for the acceleration accidents.

“I’m absolutely certain that in my situation, it was not the floor mats,” said Elizabeth James, whose Toyota Prius suddenly accelerated to 90 miles per hour. James says that her foot was not even on the gas pedal when the car accelerated.

James and many other Toyota owners believe that the acceleration accidents are due to a glitch in the electronic system that controls the throttle. Kane said that complaints of sudden acceleration increased in 2002, which was the year when Toyota switched to a fully electronic throttle control system with no mechanical fall-back component.

“You can’t discount the electronics given all of the things that are going on, given all of the reports, given all of the evidence,” Kane said.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has investigated the runaway Toyota problem and have found no electronic defects.

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

Toyota announced that it will install a new brake override system in some of the vehicles as part of the massive recall. This new “brake to idle” feature will allow the driver to override the car’s acceleration by pressing the brake pedal. Kane said that this new feature will save lives.

“That type of fix will bring control to the driver very quickly, and will likely prevent crashes,” Kane said.

Hopefully the recall will resolve this dangerous problem for all – and not just some – of the affected vehicles. The latest recall covers nearly 4 million vehicles, including the 2007 to 2010 Toyota Camry, 2005 to 2010 Toyota Avalon, 2004 to 2009 Toyota Prius, 2005 to 2010 Toyota Tacoma, 2007 to 2010 Toyota Tundra, 2007 to 2010 Lexus ES350 and 2006 to 2010 Lexus IS250/350.

If you’re injured in an auto accident which you believe to be caused by a defect, contact a Georgia auto accident attorney as soon as possible. Call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule a free consultation.