Toyota Sudden Unintended Acceleration Problem is Reminiscent of Ford Explorer Defects
The complaints made by Toyota and Lexus drivers of sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) has been largely ignored by the car manufacturer over the last eight years. Any attempts to treat the issue through vehicle repairs in recalls -- six recalls since 2005 -- have dealt strictly with mechanical root causes like sticking accelerator pedals, and has failed to address possible electronic defects or that there is likely a variety of contributing defects that cause SUA.
SUA has finally been thrust to the forefront of news as more consumers experience the frightening inability to control their vehicles, more car accidents occur, and no reliable repair has been found.
The predicament Toyota finds itself in, with SUA occurring in many of its makes and models over many years, is reminiscent of the Ford Explorer and Firestone tire defects which flooded the news about a decade ago. In the case of the Explorers there were, too, a variety of design and manufacturing defects which contributed to the failure of the Firestone tires and the rollover of the Explorer.
Explorers were a best-selling SUV, much like certain models of Toyota are widely used and popular vehicles. The reluctance of both Ford at the time of the Explorer defects, and Toyota now with SUA, to address all of the possible contributing factors and auto defects in a timely manner is disappointing.
The Early Warning Reporting (EWR) system was implemented during the Ford Explorer recalls and was intended to detect consumer complaints at an early stage. It has showed SUA claim rates rising, though little attention has been paid by car manufacturers to these numbers until recently.
SUA can occur when the vehicle is maneuvered in a variety of ways; at low speeds while parking with a foot on the brake, while maintaining a consistent speed on a highway, and many other situations have been reported. It also can occur during different driving conditions.
Though a complex issue, safety precautions should have been taken long ago to install brake-to-idle features across all makes and models of Toyota vehicles. This would allow the driver to override any SUA. As of yet, Toyota has only acted to install this feature on some Camry models.