Today, Toyota Motor Sales, USA announced it was recalling approximately 3.8 million vehicles to address problems with removable floor mats that could cause the accelerator to become stuck and lead to a crash. This recall is the largest recall in Toyota’s history.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal government has received notice of 102 incidents involving Toyota vehicles where the accelerator became stuck while being operated. While it is not clear how many of the 102 reported incidents resulted in injuries or deaths to occupants, Toyota spokesperson Irv Miller stated "[a] stuck open accelerator pedal may result in very high vehicle speeds and make it difficult to stop a vehicle, which could cause a crash, serious injury or death." Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stated "this is an urgent matter" and warned owners of affected vehicles to remove the floor mats from the driver’s side immediately.
This past August near San Diego, a 2009 Lexus ES 350 being driven by a California Highway Patrol Officer accelerated to 120 mph before striking another vehicle, launching off an embankment, rolling several times and bursting into flames. Four people died in the crash. Just before the crash occurred, a 911 call from one of the vehicle’s passengers told police the vehicle had no brakes and that the accelerator was stuck. Investigators believe the floor mat may be to blame for the incident.
The following models are involved in the recall:
- 2007-2010 Toyota Camry
- 2004-2009 Toyota Prius
- 2005-2010 Toyota Tacoma
- 2007-2010 Toyota Tundra
- 2007-2010 Lexus ES350
- 2006-2010 Lexus IS250 and IS350
Owners of these vehicles will begin being notified by Toyota about how to remedy the problem within the week. In the meantime, owners should remove the floor mats from the driver’s side of these vehicles. Owners can also contact Toyota at 1-800-331-4331 and Lexus at 1-800-255-3987 for more information.