Huge Toyota Recall Affects Thousands of Massachusetts Drivers–Defective Gas Pedals May Cause Runaway Acceleration

Toyota has issued another recall affecting millions of its popular vehicles due to acceleration problems caused by sticking gas pedals which are known to have caused serious personal injury and several deaths. In addition, Toyota has halted sales and will halt production of several product lines until it designs a fix for the product defect. This recall seriously affects Toyota’s reputation for safety and reliability. It also affects tens of thousands of Massachusetts drivers who own the defective Toyotas. It also affects others on the highway who may be struck by a runaway vehicle.

Toyota announced the voluntary recall last Thursday, which includes about 2.3 million vehicles, “to correct sticking accelerator pedals on specific Toyota Division models.”  The sticking pedals may fail to return, or return slowly, to the idle position, causing the cars to accelerate or maintain a high speed unexpectedly.

The recall comes after a recall on floor mats in September 2009 affecting 3.8 million vehicles. That recall was found to be insufficient to solve the accelerator problems. Investigators realized the product defect included more than just the floor mats after a family of four suffered wrongful deaths when their Avalon crashed into a lake. The floor mats were discovered in the trunk of that car.

In November 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) called the removal of the offending floor mats an interim measure only, and said, “This remedy does not correct the underlying defect in the vehicles involving the potential for entrapment of the accelerator by floor mats, which is related to accelerator and floor pan design.”

Unfortunately, Toyota has not yet proposed a plan to fix its millions of defective vehicles.

Massachusetts consumers who experience gas pedal problems are advised to apply firm pressure to the brake, and to pull off the road as soon as that can be done safely. The car should not be driven. In an emergency, the car can be put into neutral or the key turned to off. Push-button start controls can be turned off if the button is depressed for several seconds.

Models affected by the recall include:

  • 2009-2010 RAV4
  • 2009-2010 Corolla
  • 2007-2010 Camry
  • 2009-2010 Matrix
  • 2005-2010 Avalon
  • 2010 Highlander
  • 2007-2010 Tundra
  • 2008-2010 Sequoia.

Toyota customers affected by this recall should call the Toyota “Customer Experience Center” at 1-800-331-4331 with questions or concerns.


What to Do if You Have Suffered Injury Due to a Product Defect

There are several important steps that must be taken immediately if a defective product is suspected of causing an injury or death. The product must be preserved and not disassembled or disposed of. You should promptly seek legal assistance from an experienced product liability attorney to insure prompt investigation of the scene of the accident and to contact witnesses. Notice should be given to insurance companies and to the seller(s) and manufacturers of the product and relevant component parts.

Please contact the lawyers Breakstone, White & Gluck if you have been injured by a defective Toyota or other defective product. We have decades of experience in these types of cases, and will provide a free consultation. Call us toll free at 800-379-1244. We look forward to assisting you.