The Growing Toyota Problem – Some of Its Cars Are Killing People

The Growing Toyota Problem – Some of Its Cars Are Killing People

Yesterday, the New York Times ran an extensive, overview article covering the growing Toyota scandal regarding an unintended acceleration problem in some of its cars, “Toyota’s Slow Awakening to a Deadly Problem.”

It’s a good read, worth your time.

This Week, Congress Starts Asking Questions About Toyota

Now, Congress has become involved, investigating why Toyota has known about this problem since 2002, without resolution of the potentially fatal glitch in some of its models these 8 years later.   Two Congressional Committees are looking into Toyota’s sudden acceleration issue: the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee led by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) will be holding a hearing into the matter on February 25th; and this week, the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, headed by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) requested documentation on the issue from Toyota and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The last time that Congress got on the hunt like this was back in 2001, when all those Firestone tires were involved in the Ford Motor Company rollover tragedies.

What’s Going On Here?

Several vehicles made by Toyota, and sold either as Toyota models or Lexus models, have been subject to voluntary recalls by Toyota Motor Company (over 6,000,000 vehicles covered here) because of a problem with their sudden, involuntary acceleration of the car. Extremely popular cars like Camrys and Corollas are involved.

What happens? The car just starts speeding up, apparently, and Toyota has explained this dangerous event away as being a problem caused by the gas pedal sticking, or the pedal getting caught up in the carpeted floor mat.

February 1, 2010 – Toyota’s Latest Recall

Today, Toyota issued another recall. On its website, it’s announcing that drivers of the following cars should check with their dealer about a fix that will be done to their accelerator pedal (gas pedal). It impacts the following models:

  • certain 2009-2010 RAV4
  • certain 2009-2010 Corolla
  • 2009-2010 Matrix
  • 2005-2010 Avalon
  • certain 2007-2010 Camry
  • certain 2010 Highlander
  • 2007-2010 Tundra
  • 2008-2010 Sequoia

Does this solve the problem?  Apparently not.  The car described in yesterday’s New York Times article was a Lexus ES350 sedan.  Driven by an off-duty California Highway Patrolman, the driver along with his wife, daughter, and brother-in-law were killed last August 28th, and it will be interesting to learn what happened in that crash.

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