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Deaths, injuries linked to Toyota sudden acceleration continue to rise

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A surge of new complaints involving sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles has hit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the last three weeks. The additional reports came as the NHTSA and two different congressional committees step up their probe of Toyota and its handling of the acceleration problem that affects between 8 and 9 million of its U.S. vehicles.

Until January 27, the day after Toyota suspended production and sales of eight different models because of faulty accelerator concerns, the NHTSA had on file 17 complaints of acceleration-related Toyota crashes involving 21 deaths between 2000 and 2009.

However, the agency has received reports of an additional 13 deaths and 10 injuries allegedly caused by sudden acceleration accidents since 2005, bringing the total number of people killed to 34. Government officials and safety experts alike expect the number of cases reported to the NHTSA to keep rising.

Currently, the number of deaths allegedly linked to Toyota amounts to more than all other auto manufacturers combined — a fact that has shaken the core of a company that has built its entire reputation on safety and quality.

According to Clarence Ditlow, the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety in Washington D.C., more sudden acceleration incidents involving Toyota vehicles are on their way.

"We are going to go over 100 without a doubt," Ditlow told the Los Angeles Times. "The only question is what is the true number. So many fatalities don’t get attributed to sudden acceleration, especially as you go further back in time before people were paying attention to Toyota," Ditlow said.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “A number of lawsuits and police reports also indicate that Toyota vehicles suffering runaway acceleration led to fatalities, but those cases have not been registered as complaints in the government database.”

Toyota has not yet disclosed internal communications and information from its consumer complaint logs pertaining to sudden acceleration incidents. In general, consumer complaint databases of private companies are considerably larger than those operated by the government. Therefore, if Toyota submits accurate information to the NHTSA, a number of new sudden acceleration cases will likely be revealed.

New reports submitted to the NHTSA show that Toyota’s sudden acceleration problem is likely older and more extensive than most reports indicate and that not all affected vehicles are covered by the recent safety recalls.

The oldest case of sudden acceleration currently on file at the NHTSA involves a 1988 Camry that crashed into a brick wall. The majority of the incidents, however, occurred between 2002 and 2009.

For more information, including a timeline of Toyota’s recalls, visit our Toyota web site.

2 Comments

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    I have a Toyota that has a tendendcy to accelerate all by itself. Shortly after buying the car I decided that the gas pedal had a soft feel to so I added extra return springs to tighten the feel. (please don’t sue McMaster-Carr for selling me the springs) The car still had a tendency to want to accelerate. So I installed a data logger with GPS onto the OBDII bus to see exactly what was happening. The logger showed on multiple events a full throttle condition. This is a software/firmware problem NOT a “sticky gas pedal” problem. Toyota service was rather uncooperative with the odd error codes coming out of the OBDII port so I sold the car prior to the recalls. Car was a 2005 Scion XB
    Also, the zip-tie repair is rather crude.

  2. Facebook User says:
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    You said that Toyota had more deaths than all other car manufactuers combined. Boy that sounds like government math. It took less than a dozen key strokes to find out what a biased moron you are. 1980: The U.S. government allows Ford to mail warning labels to owners of more than 20 million 1970-1980 cars and light trucks with automatic transmissions that can slip into reverse, thus avoiding the largest safety recall in automotive history. The dashboard stickers advise drivers not to leave the vehicle with the engine running, to use the parking brake and to make sure the transmission has been placed in park. However, NHTSA considers the warnings a recall. NHTSA finds that slipping transmissions caused 6,000 accidents resulting in 1,710 injuries and 98 deaths. This whole thing with Toyota is so over blown. Ray Lahood (the hood) worked for the UAW and GM (Government Motors) is owned in part by the US Gornment. Yeah not partiality there. In addition many of the supposedly unbiased senators have taken money from the UAW for their campaigns. Yeah they will be objective. Give me a break. This is all politics. The Japanese government wants the US base out of Okinowa and we don’t want to go. So this is there way of sending Japan a message.