Consumer Complaints About Sudden Unintended Acceleration (SUA) in Toyotas
The number of injuries resulting from Toyota sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) incidents, organized by vehicle model, reported from 1999 to January of 2010 are as follows:
- 4Runner: 2
- Avalon: 13
- Camry Models: 131
- Corolla: 16
- ES Models: 48
- GS Models: 2
- Highlander Models: 15
- IS Models: 5
- LS Models: 6
- Other Models: 10
- Prius: 13
- Rav4: 9
- RX Models: 12
- Sienna: 20
- Tacoma: 31
- Tundra: 2
- Unknown Camry or ES Models: 6
The number of deaths potentially resulting from Toyota SUA incidents reported from 1999 - January of 2010 are as follows:
- Camry Models: 12
- ES Models: 5
- Highlander Models: 1
- IS Models: 1
These numbers are based on complaint data analyzed by Safety Research & Strategies where SUA is defined as any incident in which the driver reported an engine acceleration that was unintended.
In all of these incidents, SUA occurred under any of these conditions: the vehicle was in idle mode, the vehicle was in reverse at a low speed, the operator's foot was on the brake, the vehicle was traveling at a constant highway speed, the vehicle contained no all-weather accessory floor mats (which have been largely blamed as the cause for SUA), and the accelerator pedal was not "sticking" (also another alleged cause).
One consumer, an owner of a 2007 Avalon, reported SUA five times. His experiences showed the vehicle accelerating without his foot on the gas, and then it would return to idle after a few miles or if he was able to turn off the car or put it in park. He took his Avalon to the dealership, but they did not locate any issue.
This consumer's account of driving to work in December of 2009 is as follows:
"... I was driving to work on a major highway. The car began to accelerate without my foot on the gas pedal. As I pushed on the brake, the car continued to accelerate. At that time I was not able to stop my vehicle by pressing hard on the brake. The only way I was able to slow the car down was to put the car into neutral. I took the next exit, which was the exit for the Toyota dealership. I called the dealership and told the service manager to meet me outside because I was experiencing acceleration problems. I drove approximately 5 miles by alternating from neutral to drive and pressing firmly on the brakes. As I pulled into the front of the dealership I put the car into neutral and exited the car. With the brakes smoking from excessive braking and the car's rpm's racing the manager entered my car. He confirmed that the mats were properly in place and confirmed the rpm's were very high."
This account is from the National Highway Safety Administration's document of this drivers complaint on December 28, 2009.
Toyota technicians witnessed the vehicle accelerating and could provide no mechanical causes. The Avalon was repaired and at the expense of Toyota but the owner was told by the Toyota dealer that the vehicle's computer showed no error codes and that did not know if the repairs would really fix the vehicle.
Toyota has insisted that SUA is not cause by an electronic defect in car models, despite what this owner, many owners of Toyota vehicles, and the Toyota dealership has witnessed in this case.
The search for the cause of SUA is ongoing, with many complaints similar to the above. Many believe that a complete assessment of possible electronic throttle defects is absolutely necessary to locate the problem and keep Toyota costumers safe.
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