Toyota push to No. 1 masks on-going unintended acceleration issues
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
The media has been awash of late with news that Toyota is charging back to become the world’s No. 1 selling auto maker. But that return to the top stands in stark contrast to some sobering numbers involving the unintended acceleration problems that have bedeviled the company’s fleet — and put consumers in harms way.
As reported on the Safety Research & Strategies Inc. blog, unintended acceleration problems simply have not gone away. Some of the more startling numbers since June 1, 2011:
- 368 total incidents involving unintended acceleration.
- 36 involved vehicles described as having had at least one UA recall remedy performed prior to the incident.
- 95 reported injuries; none of these incidents resulted in a fatality.
Safety Research reviewed unintended acceleration incidents involving Toyota vehicles reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) between June 1, 2011 and July 17, 2012. To identify these reports, the organization examined the NHTSA data for all consumer complaints containing keywords related to UA that were submitted during that time period. Each complain was then reviewed to determine if it described an unintended acceleration incident.
SR&S, which produces research utilized in civil cases brought by trial lawyers who hold automakers accountable for safety violations, has become enough of a thorn in Toyota’s side that the giant auto maker took pains in a press release to coach reporters to identify the safety organization as “paid consultants engaged by attorneys suing Toyota for money.”
Toyota executives have also bristled over Senator Charles Grassley’s July 12 letter to NHTSA Administrator David Strickland raising concerns about whether NHTSA’s investigations of unintended acceleration involving Toyota were too narrow, including the agency’s position on the tin whiskers phenomenon, a notable problem raised by NASA scientists who aided in the NHTSA probe. Toyota claimed in a press release that the government’s investigation was “sufficiently thorough in regard to a phenomenon known as ‘tin whiskers.’ ”
Tags: auto safety, product liability, product safety, Toyota, unintended acceleration;
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