The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened an investigation into intermittent brake failure in the 2007 and 2008 Toyota Camry hybrid sedan. According to a news report in the Los Angeles Times, dozens of consumers have already complained to the safety agency about these brake issues asking NHTSA to force Toyota to recall these defective vehicles. NHTSA officials said they would look into reports of delayed braking and brake failure from vehicle owners. The problem could affect up to 30,000 cars. So far, NHTSA has received 59 complaints and reports of two car accidents related to the vehicle defect.
Serious Braking Problems Reported
One driver told NHTSA in a complaint that the vehicle’s brakes had completely failed. The driver ended up making a “sharp evasive turn and hit a curb hard in an attempt not to run over pedestrians” in the crosswalk. Another Camry owner was charged more than $2,600 by a dealer to replace an actuator in the braking system, the Times reports. In a majority of the complaints, drivers said they pressed the brake pedal and experienced either a delay in response or they had to put more pressure on the pedal to get the car to slow down. Many of those who complained said Toyota should voluntarily recall these vehicles and pay for repairs.
History of Stalled Recalls
Toyota officials have said they are cooperating with federal investigators. Four years ago, the Japanese automaker paid an unprecedented $48.8 million in fines as a result of three separate investigations into the automaker’s handling of recalls for similar pedal entrapment problems in other vehicles, sticky gas pedals and steering relay rod problems. In late 2012, Toyota again paid $17.35 million for failing to promptly recall Lexus SUVs for faulty floor mats that could jam the gas pedal and cause sudden or unintended acceleration. Under federal law, all automakers should notify NHTSA within five business days of determining that a safety issue exists.
Compensation for Victims
If you have been injured in a car crash as a result of a defective auto, it is important that you preserve the vehicle in its current condition so that an expert can examine it thoroughly for defects, malfunctions and design flaws. Injured victims can file an auto product liability lawsuit seeking compensation for injuries and damages. Victims or families would also be well advised to seek the counsel of an experienced auto product liability lawyer who has successfully pursued large automakers such as Toyota on behalf of injured clients.