Toyota Announces Recall of Four Million Vehicles Due to Defective Gas Pedals
In one of the largest motor vehicle recalls in United States history, Toyota Corporation announced that it is recalling over four million vehicles due to problems with gas pedals sticking in the floor mats, leading to at least one catastrophic crash in California that killed a California Highway Patrol Officer and three members of his family. The high speed crash in a 2009 Lexus ES350 involved speeds of up to 120 mph, as the vehicle's gas pedal became lodged in the floor mat. The vehicle ultimately went down an embankment, rolled over, and burst into flames, cauing the four deaths. One family member frantically called 911 to report the horrifc event as it was happening. Over 100 reports of gas pedals becoming lodged in the floor mats led to the massive recall.
Toyota announced that public safety was of foremost concern in leading to the recalls. The company has already re-designed the pedals for future production, and has instructed dealerships as to how to shorten the pedals, and remove padding under the floor mat to resolve the potentially fatal problem.
A safety consultant in Massachusetts who investigated these cases found more than 2,000 incidents involving Toyota gas pedals, and 16 deaths and 243 injuries that may have been caused by these pedals. The recall involves Toyota Camrys, Toytoa Avalons, and the Lexus ES350.
If you own a Toyota Camry, Avalon or Lexus ES350, contact your Toyota dealership to see if your vehicle needs the modification. If you experience an acceleration problem due to the pedal sticking, and you are unable to dislodge the pedal, Toyota recommends that the driver place both feet on the brakes, and place the transmission in neutral, which will disengage the transmission. The driver can also turn the key to the off, or ACC position, which should turn the vehicle off, but still allow the driver to steer and use the braking system. The driver will lose the benefit of power steering and power brakes. Additionally, if your vehicle has a start button, Toyota recommends pressing the off button for three seconds to turn it off.
For more information, you can call Toyota at 800-331-4331 or the National Highway Transporation Safety Administration (NHTSA) hot line at 888-327-4236.