Orange County, California is filing a civil lawsuit against Toyota over its recent safety problems and recalls. According to The Associated Press, the Orange County District Attorney says that Toyota continues to endanger the public through the sale of defective vehicles and deceptive business practices.
Since last fall, Toyota has recalled more than 8 million vehicles worldwide for problems involving sudden acceleration. Toyota has blamed the speed control issues on defective floor mats and faulty accelerator pedals, but some experts suspect that problems with the vehiclesâ€™ electronic throttle control system could really be behind the problems. Such suspicions have increased recently, as dozens of Toyota owners whose vehicles underwent recall repairs have recently complained that their vehicles are still experiencing problems with unintended acceleration.
As we’ve reported previously, five deaths in the U.S. have occurred in auto accidents involving the unintended acceleration of a Toyota or Lexus vehicle. Last August, a California Highway Patrol trooper and three members of his family were killed in such a crash in San Diego County, just south of Orange. At least 47 other fatalities over the past decade alleged to be the result of Toyota unintended acceleration crashes are currently being investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The Orange County Toyota lawsuit was announced this morning by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas’ office. The lawsuit will name Toyota Motor Sales USA as a defendant, and will seek “to enjoin them from continuing to endanger the public through the sale of defective vehicles and deceptive business practices.”
Toyota has already been named 89 class action lawsuits filed on behalf of Toyota vehicle owners. The company also face the specter of criminal charges. As we reported previously, the automaker was served with a subpoena last month by a New York grand jury looking into sudden acceleration problems, as well as problems with brakes on Prius and Lexus hybrids. If it is found that Toyota intentionally misled federal regulators about safety defects, the company and its executives could be charged criminally under the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act.