Sudden Unintended Acceleration
According to the L.A. Times, federal officials report that there were 34 deaths in the past decade from Toyota vehicles suddenly and unintentionally accelerating.
Then again, federal officials also report that there were 34 deaths from people not having health insurance while you were reading the last sentence.
A sensationalistic crash that killed four occupants of a Lexus last year in San Diego resulted in nationwide media exposure regarding supposed Toyota design flaws. Toyota investigated and found that the car’s floor mat had become stuck to the accelerator, preventing it from operating properly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration backed up Toyota: as outlined in the inspection report, “The right clip was installed into the grommet of the carpeting but not installed into the mat. The left clip was… not clipped to either the carpet or the rubber mat… [T]he bottom edge of the accelerator pedal had melted to the upper right corner of the mat… [W]hile it was a Lexus brand mat, it was not the correct application for the vehicle.”
Nonetheless, the incident led to an accumulation of complaints about Toyota and high-profile recalls for problems ranging from Sudden Unintended Acceleration (SUA) to brake problems to faulty steering. The federal government butted in by holding hearings last month in which they grilled Toyota executives about alleged glitches in their vehicles’ electronic throttles; they also demanded to know when Japanese execs would commit hara-kiri to atone for their sins.
As the Times noted, virtually all of the accident-related deaths reported this year took place before 2010, some as far back as 20 years. In other words, motorists are jumping on the bandwagon, contributing horror stories to a ravenous media, and helping perpetuate an urban legend. Or, as one agency spokeswoman diplomatically noted, “It is normal for NHTSA to receive an increase in consumer complaints after a recall is announced and the public learns of a safety defect.” read more »