Toyota Complaints to NHTSA Have Spiked Since Recalls

Toyota vehicles have been associated with more sudden acceleration accident and death complaints in the past several weeks. According to the Associated Press, complaints involving the popular Prius Hybrid have also surged in the past week.

Since last fall, Toyota has recalled millions of cars for problems involving sudden acceleration and faulty brakes. It all started in September, when Toyota announced it was recalling and replacing floor mats on approximately 4.2 million vehicles which were allegedly causing accelerator pedals in the vehicles to become stuck in the depressed position, leading to uncontrollable and rapid acceleration of the vehicle. On January 21, Toyota recalled 2.3 million vehicles due to accelerator pedals on those vehicles becoming stuck in a depressed position, causing unexpected and unsafe acceleration.

At the time of the January recall, crashes involving Toyota or Lexus vehicles and sudden acceleration had allegedly resulted in 21 deaths between 2000 and the end of 2009.

Last Tuesday, Toyota recalled 400,000 hybrid vehicles, including the 2010 Prius and the Lexus HS250h, to fix their brakes. The hybrid recall came after the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it had opened an investigation into the 2010 Prius relating to reports of momentary loss of braking capability while traveling over an uneven road surface, pothole or bump. The NHTSA said it had received 124 reports from consumers, including four reports alleging that crashes occurred.

According to the Associated Press, the number of fatality complaints allegedly associated with the sudden acceleration of a Toyota vehicle since 2000 have risen to 34. Since the January recall, consumers have reported nine crashes involving 13 alleged deaths between 2005 and 2010 due to accelerator problem to the NHTSA database. Since January 27, the NHTSA has processed 686 complaints from consumers about problems related to speed control involving Toyota-manufactured vehicles, the Associated Press said.

An Associated Press analysis of government data also revealed that Toyota has received many complaints over vehicle speed control in the 2009 and 2008 model years. In 2009, there were a total of 130 logged for Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles – giving Toyota the lead that year. Camry led the list of models with 52 complaints. The Corolla was the subject of 17 complaints, the Tacoma had 16, and the Prius logged 13. Overall, eight of the top 10 vehicles with complaints over vehicle speed control were manufactured by Toyota, the Associated Press said.

For the 2008 model year, Toyota vehicles received 176 complaints related to vehicle speed control. The Prius had 31 complaints, followed by Tacoma with 28 and Camry with 25, the Associated Press said.

In the past week, complaints to the NHTSA database involving the Prius grew by almost 1,000. Through February 11, the Associated Press says the database has received a total of 1,120 complaints alleging 34 crashes, six injuries and no deaths.

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