Within the month Toyota will begin a massive recall on 4.26 million cars and trucks going back to the 2002 model year due to faulty gas pedals. Toyota claims that the gas pedal design makes them vulnerable to being trapped by floor mats and that the recall aims to reduce the vehicles risk of accelerating out of control. According to the Los Angeles Times, the action follows widespread reports of runaway Toyota and Lexus vehicles. They also reported that sudden acceleration incidents involving Toyota-made cars and trucks have claimed 19 lives since the 2002 model year, which federal officials say is more than all other manufacturers combined, and that at least 1,000 incidents of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles, documented in consumer complaints, have occurred within the last eight years. Toyota said it will cut off about three-quarters of an inch from the bottom of the pedal to reduce the risk of the mat snagging and jamming the gas pedal, replace all-weather rubber floor mats and replace thick padding under the carpeting of certain models with thinner pads to allow more clearance between the pedal and floor . And as an additional precaution, Toyota said most of the software in the vehicle’s engine control system would be modified so that the brake overrides the accelerator if both pedals are pressed at the same time.
For decades, auto makers, not just Toyota, have blamed sudden acceleration on the drivers, denying the fault lies with the cars. We all know how dreadful it feels to have the tables turned on us after someone has harmed us; surely this is how survivors of sudden acceleration feel when they are told by auto makers that they are inadvertently at fault. Since the introduction of electronics into auto design in the 1970’s, electronics control almost every auto function, thus changing the relationship between car and driver. This invention has created the possibility of sudden acceleration and other random electrical faults that are impossible to trace, unlike older, non-electrical engines whose defects were mechanical in nature and could be verified by physical inspection. Here at the Brod Law Firm, we are glad to see the truth about the phenomenon of sudden acceleration beginning to emerge, and we believe this recall will result in fewer injury accidents for Toyota owners.