Report Toyota Sudden Acceleration Problem Worse Than Disclosed

11.09.09 | FL News Team

The problem of sudden, unintended acceleration involving Toyota and Lexus vehicles is more serious than the company or the U.S. government has admitted. That's the claim of the "Los Angeles Times." The newspaper is reporting more than one-thousand owners of those vehicles have reported sudden, spontaneous acceleration since 2001. The problem reportedly has caused crashes blamed for 19 deaths. The newspaper says both Toyota and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration understated the problem.

The NHTSA announced receiving reports of 100 incidents including 17 crashes and five fatalities. Toyota blamed sudden acceleration on floormats that could slide forward and jam accelerator pedals in certain models. The "Times" investigation found federal officials had eliminated entire categories of sudden-acceleration complaints from motorists. Among those rejected were claims drivers couldn't stop cars using their brakes; incidents of unintended acceleration lasting more than a few seconds; and reports where owners couldn't identify the possible cause.

 If the newspaper's figure of one-thousand incidents wasn't high enough, an independent safety expert, Sean Kane, says he's identified double that number. Kane is the President of Safety Research & Strategies. The majority of runaway incidents didn't result in a crash. Toyota, in a statement to the newspaper, defends its vehicles and called prior investigations by NHTSA "exhaustive." Toyota said, quote, "in each case, the agency closed the investigation without finding any electronic engine control system malfunction to be the cause of unintended acceleration."