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Unintended Acceleration-The Toyota Recall and Fatalities

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the unintended or sudden acceleration problem of certain Toyota models may be linked to 89 deaths of drivers and passengers over the past 10 years. NHTSA also stated that in the past 10 years, it received more than 6,000 complaints involving acceleration problems in certain Toyota models.

Since the fall of 2009, Toyota has recalled more than 8 million vehicles worldwide, citing issues with gas pedals, floor mats and brakes. Toyota is now facing many state and federal lawsuits and has paid a hefty fine-$16.4 million for its slow response to the acceleration problem.

The acceleration recall involves issues in which the accelerator or gas pedal can become stuck. Drivers may lose control of the car, be left unable to slow it down or even stop the car. Serious injuries have resulted and many have died.

In September, 2009, Toyota issued several recalls related to unintended acceleration. Initially, Toyota issued warnings to owners of certain models claiming that floor mats could cause the gas pedal to become stuck, resulting in sudden acceleration. Toyota then followed up with a recall of nearly 4 million Toyota models-the largest recall in Toyota's history.

Several months later, Toyota planned to fix the so-called floor-mat acceleration problem by shortening the accelerators. However, despite this "solution", Toyota and NHTSA still received reports of sudden acceleration and stuck pedals, even in cars where the floor mats had been removed. One of the most tragic, fatal accidents occurred in December, 2009, when a Toyota carrying 4 people sped out of control and into a lake. There were no survivors. Investigators found the floor mats already removed, and in the trunk.

By January, 2010, Toyota reported that the accelerator could get stuck by a friction issue in the pedal mechanisms. But Toyota 's own supplier reported that the friction issue was not the cause of the sudden acceleration

Many auto experts have cast doubt on Toyota's excuses for the cause of sudden acceleration. The real reason for sudden acceleration may lie in the rather complex electronic system underlying the gas pedal. Experts site issues with the electronic sensors, the design of the system itself and/or the lack of an override system. For support, experts look at the fact that sudden acceleration issues began to rise substantially in 2002-when Toyota began installing the electronic systems in its cars. These facts may help to support allegations that Toyota knew about the acceleration issues well before the 2009 recalls.

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of unintended or sudden acceleration in a Toyota car, it is critical that you speak to a qualified attorney immediately. Even though Toyota received reports of unintended acceleration for years, it simply did not take the appropriate measures to address the issue. As a result, according to NHTSA, 89 people may have died as a result. Contact the Philadelphia and New Jersey personal injury legal team at White and Williams today for a free consultation. 1-877-944-8396.


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