Toyota announced news this week that made a major impression on Missouri car crash lawyers like me, as well as drivers and auto dealers around the U.S. As the Columbia Daily Tribune reported Jan. 27, Toyota has asked local auto dealers around North America to stop selling the eight vehicle models involved in its latest recall. That recall, of 2.3 million vehicles, addresses reports of sudden and unintentional acceleration in late-model Toyotas. The automaker originally blamed the problem on floor mats that were installed incorrectly and recalled 4.3 million vehicles to replace the mats. In the newest recall, it says flaws in the accelerator pedal cause the pedal to “stick” open.
During the original recall, some safety experts expressed doubts that floor mats were the cause of the unintended acceleration. Rather, they suggested that the problem could lie with the “drive by wire” system, which uses a computer rather than a lever to relate pressure on the accelerator pedal to the engine. Toyota denies this, and the newest recall doesn’t have to do with the computer system. Rather, the automaker says parts of the pedal can wear down and catch, opening the throttle. Toyota asked drivers with recalled vehicles to continue driving unless they feel that the accelerator pedal is slow to move or moves poorly. However, all of those drivers will be eligible for repair or replacement pedals when Toyota devises a solution, which is expected to be soon. A full list of the models involved in both recalls is available from the Los Angeles Times, and a Toyota press release about the recall is available here.
As a southern Illinois auto accident lawyer, I am pleased that Toyota is taking action on this problem. However, it’s disturbing to realize that by initiating the second recall, Toyota is reversing its previous stance that accelerator pedals are not the problem. If the automaker was wrong about that — unintentionally or not — what’s to stop it from being wrong about the driver-by-wire system as well? That is an important question, because the drive-by-wire system is installed in far more Toyota (and Lexus) vehicles than just the eight involved in the current recall. If Toyota is intentionally hiding important safety information just because it hurts sales, it’s putting millions of North Americans at risk of death or life-changing disabilities. Not only is this ethically unsound, but it could put the automaker on the wrong side of multiple defective auto part lawsuits.
At the Lowe Law Firm, we exclusively represent people who have suffered serious injuries or the death of a family member because of someone else’s carelessness. Our St. Louis car wreck attorneys help these clients hold the wrongdoers legally responsible for all of the injuries they caused. In cases of car accidents caused by defects in a vehicle or its parts, that means holding the automaker itself responsible for its actions. Unfortunately, no lawsuit can reverse the damage caused by a crash, but it can help victims deal with the effects of that damage on their lives and finances. In a lawsuit, victims can recover compensation for all of their medical costs, now and in the future; income lost because victims can’t work anymore; and for a permanent disability, premature death, chronic pain and other serious physical effects.
If you or someone you love has suffered serious injury in a car crash that was not your fault, you should call the Lowe Law Firm. To learn more or set up a free evaluation of your case, please send us an email through our Web site or call toll-free at 1-877-678-3400.