Toyota says it has fix for the "sticky" gas pedals that caused Toyota to expand its sudden acceleration recall multiple times in the last week. Toyota’s recall expanded for the third time this week and now includes more than 9 million vehicles worldwide.
However, USA Today reports that Toyota is keeping that fix for itself rather than sending it to dealers in order to repair these dangerous vehicles already on the road. As you can imagine, Toyota dealers and vehicle owners are not happy that Toyota is keeping the new parts for itself.
DETROIT – Toyota is sending new gas pedal systems to car factories rather than dealerships who want the parts to take care of millions of customers whose pedals may stick, the Associated Press has learned.
But some dealers say they should get the parts first because they now have no way to fix the pedals on any of the 2.3 million recalled vehicles affecting eight U.S. models.
Even now, Toyota cannot say when the repairs will be available.
Independent safety experts, as well as Toyota’s own supplier, say "sticky" throttles are only part of the problem and Toyota’s recall and proposed fix will not end its sudden acceleration problem.
The statement from Toyota’s own supplier confirms what independent safety experts have been saying for months: Toyota’s newest recall won’t solve the sudden acceleration problem.
Safety experts agree that this could be the tip of the iceberg and even more needs to be done. In fact, Toyota has not yet recalled some models or model-years with the highest rate of unintended acceleration complaints, such as the 2002-06 Toyota Camry. Toyota’s failure to include these vehicles gives its customers and the public a false sense of security.
ABC News confirmed sudden acceleration events in Toyota vehicles not yet subject to any recall.
Sean Kane, an independent safety expert with Safety Research & Strategies says most of the 2000+ sudden acceleration cases he has documented have nothing to do with either the accelerator pedal or the floor mats.
"I think the bulk of the problems we’re seeing have nothing to do with some kind of accelerator pedal or with the floor mats," safety expert Sean Kane told ABC News. "It has to do with other components in these vehicles, most likely in the electronics." Kane is with Safety Research & Strategies, a private auto safety firm in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.
Reports of the runaway Toyotas surged after the company began to use tiny computers to control acceleration, and as Toyota appeared to put more emphasis on cost cutting and less on its famed quality control.
As I have documented here for the last several months, Toyota has known about — and ignored — its sudden acceleration problem for more than five years. Instead of acknowledging and repairing this widespread defect, Toyota waited years to acknowledge the defect and instead blamed its own customers.
In fact, Toyota was criticized last fall by government safety regulators for making "inaccurate and misleading" statements concerning the accelerator problems. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") issued a statement that the recalled Toyota and Lexus vehicles do have an "underlying defect".
"There appears to be growing public confusion regarding which vehicles may be affected and how people should respond. In short, the public is unsure as to what exactly the problem is, whether it is safe to drive their cars, or what they should do about it," wrote Chairman Edolphus Towns, a New York Democrat, in a letter Thursday to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
Separately, a House investigative panel is planning a Feb. 25 hearing on the Toyota recalls. In a letter to NHTSA administrator David Strickland, lawmakers requested a timeline from January 2000 until the present for NHTSA’s investigations into Toyota defects and other data related to reports of sudden acceleration.
I have been documenting the Toyota sudden acceleration and "sticky throttle" problems for months and you can learn more at our auto safety blog.
Brett Emison is currently a partner at Langdon & Emison, a firm dedicated to helping injured victims across the country from their primary office near Kansas City. Mainly focusing on catastrophic injury and death cases as well as complex mass tort and dangerous drug cases, Mr. Emison often deals with automotive defects, automobile crashes, railroad crossing accidents (train accidents), trucking accidents, dangerous and defective drugs, defective medical devices.