In the wake of the well-publicized accident in San Diego involving the death of a family following an accident largely attributed to a floor mat becoming stuck under the accelerator, Toyota recalled 3.8 million vehicles with the same issue, finally acknowledging a serious concern with the safety of floor mats in several of their cars.
National Highway Transportation Safety Administration Criticizes Toyota
When Toyota recalled vehicles for a problem with floor mats, the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA) took issue with the wording Toyota chose to inform its customers that they may be at risk. Comments from the NHTSA describe the press release as containing both “inaccurate and misleading information.”
This statement from the NHSTA occurred as a result of Toyota’s attempt to deny any possible liability for the accidents which resulted in floor mat problems by stating in to a letter to its customers, “No defect exists in vehicles in which the driver’s floor mat is compatible with the vehicle and properly secured.”
This caused several NHTSA officials to see the letter as an attempt to cover any liability on the part of the company. Government officials still felt the issue in dispute was not that floor mats were improperly fitted, but that they could not be secured in a way that prevented them from bunching up, after becoming unsecured, and jamming under the accelerator pedal, possibly resulting in serious accidents.
Toyota was then forced to issue another statement saying they agreed with the assessment carried out by the NHTSA.
Recall Details for Toyota Customers
The models and years recalled by Toyota are extensive and any customer who owns a car made by the company that is not covered in this list, and suspects similar problems, or has already experienced odd issues with sudden acceleration issues should immediately remove their driver’s side floor mats and not replace them with any other mats, and then contact their local Toyota dealership and make sure there is no problem with their particular make and model.
Models affected by the current recall include Lexus IS 250 and Lexus IS350 from 2006 to 2010, ES 350 from the years 2007 to 2010, Camry sedans from 2007 to 2010, Tacoma trucks from 2005 to 2010, Tundra trucks from 2007 to 2010, Avalon sedans from 2005 to 2010 and Prius hybrid models from 2004 to 2009.
Any customer owning a model on this list should immediately contact their local Toyota representative. Replacement mats will be fitted as part of the recall procedure. At the Toyota dealerships, representatives are installing an extra zip-tie to ensure floor mats do not become dislodged on unsold cars in showrooms.
Additional Toyota Concerns
Many drivers add pieces of carpeting, extra mats and all kinds of materials to prevent the damage of their car’s carpeting, creating a serious risk of a jammed accelerator when rugs are piled under the driver’s feet.
Fortunately many cars have a safe way to cut the engine, should a stuck accelerator occur. One of these safety features involves an off button located in a central position. Toyotas do have this feature, but it is not clear, from the owner’s manual, that the button has to be depressed for 3 seconds to take effect. In a panic induced by a stuck accelerator, three seconds can be a long time to a driver dealing with a runaway car. Suggestions are currently being made to Toyota, encouraging the company to make this feature more easy to use, or make owner’s more aware of the feature.