Since 2001, safety investigators have ignored hundreds of reports of Toyota sudden acceleration problems, according to the Los Angeles Times. In fact, the Times review of federal records shows that more than 1,000 Toyota and Lexus owners have reported that their vehicles accelerated suddenly and on their own since 2001. Many times the sudden acceleration caused crashes with trees, parked cars, brick walls, or other obstacles, resulting in injuries and at least 19 deaths. This is much more than the 11 fatalities per year for all other automakers combined in sudden acceleration related accidents.
In the past seven years, owner complaints triggered at least eight National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigations into sudden acceleration in Toyota and Lexus vehicles. However, Toyota recalled less than 85,000 vehicles as a result of those probes and NHTSA closed six other cases without a finding of defect. The Times investigation revealed that those investigations systematically excluded or dismissed the majority of complaints by owners that their Toyota and Lexus vehicles had suddenly accelerated, which sharply narrowed the scope of the probes. Broad categories of sudden acceleration complaints were eliminated, such as:
Using these exclusions as part of their rationale, NHTSA officials closed at least five of their investigations. Because of the excluded incidents, there were fewer incidents to consider, so NHTSA concluded that there were too few reported problems to warrant further inquiry. Unfortunately, that is what happens when a government safety agency is run by people who work for the companies the agency is supposed to regulate. The people who were supposed to be looking out for the public were ignoring defect claims while people were dying.
An independent safety expert, Sean Kane of Safety Research and Strategies, SafetyResearch.net, has identified nearly 2,000 sudden-acceleration cases for Toyota vehicles built since 2001. The Times also located more than 1,000 reports by owners that their vehicles had suddenly accelerated, as well as records of 19 fatalities involving Toyota and Lexus vehicles from the same model years in which sudden or unintended acceleration may have been a factor. A 2007 survey by NHTSA of Lexus owners shows that 10% complained of sudden acceleration problems. NHTSA, Toyota and Lexus owe it to the consumers to get this sudden acceleration defect issue resolved. There have been far too many deaths and injuries for any further delay. As long as these defective vehicles are on the highway, the motoring public is at risk.
If you would like more information or have any questions about Toyota sudden acceleration, you can contact Graham Esdale (Graham.Esdale@beasleyallen.com) at 800-898-2034.
Source: Los Angeles Times
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