Revising its earlier estimate that 52 traffic fatalities had been linked
to Toyota’s unintended accelerationproblems, the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration is now saying that the death toll over the
last decade, at 89 car accidents and 57 injuries, is much higher. The
NHTSA also says that since 2000 it has received over 6,200 complaints
about Toyota and Lexus vehicles accelerating without warning.
The Toyota acceleration problem, caused by faulty brakes, floor mats, and gas pedals, have resulted in an international crisis of confidence in the automaker, which has had to recall over 8 million vehicles in less than 9 months. The NHTSA has fined the car manufacturer $16.4 million for waiting too long to notify the government and the public about the gas pedal defect.
While Toyota has expressed sympathy toward everyone who has been injured in car accidents involving its vehicles, the automaker says that many of the complaints filed with the NHTSA do not have enough information to confirm the actual cause of each crash. Toyota says that its dealers have repaired almost 3.5 million of the vehicles that were rcecently recalled. They’ve also conducted 2,000 car inspections. However, the NHTSA says that almost 100 vehicle owners whose cars underwent a recall fix have reportedly experienced unintended acceleration since then.
On Friday, Toyota recalled 11,500 Lexus LS 460 and 600h sedans (2009-10 models) because of an electronics problem that can cause the steering wheels to fall out of alignment. The steering wheel can get stuck in a turned orientation even when the car is moving in a straight direction.
All of the vehicles affected by the recall have already been sold to customers. Nearly 4,000 of these cars were sold in the US.
Yesterday, the automaker stopped the sale of these vehicles. A remedy to the auto defect is not expected until June. Meantime, Toyota says that owners can still drive their Lexus vehicles.
House committee approves auto safety bill, OC Register/AP, May 26, 2010
Toyota halts sales of Lexus LS 460 and LS 600h sedans, Los Angeles Times, May 25, 2010
Related Web Resources:
Toyota Motor Corporation News, New York Times, May 11, 2010
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
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