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CONSUMER ALERT: Toyota Vehicles Recalled for Potentially Dangerous Accelerator Pedals

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If you are the owner of one of several different models of Toyota vehicles, your car, pick-up or SUV may be affected by a massive safety recall undertaken by the Japanese automaker.

In September 2009, Toyota announced the recall of 4.3 million vehicles it said were susceptible to an accelerator pedal that could become stuck. At the time, Toyota indicated the fault of the problem was related to the car’s floor mats. Subsequently, the manufacture released an announcement that the fix would involve “trimming” the pedal mechanism. However, a Toyota website now says “In rare instances, there is a possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may mechanically stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position”, and makes no mention of the floor mats.

In January, an additional 600,000 Toyota vehicles were added to the recall list. Toyota, which has enjoyed a long-standing reputation as an industry leader in quality and customer satisfaction, shocked the automotive world and its dealer network when it told its dealers to stop selling eight models, including the Camry and Corolla sedans, two of the biggest sellers in the U.S. market. Other models affected by the move include the RAV4 and Highlander sport-utility vehicles and the Tundra pickup truck. They also announced they were halting production of the recalled vehicles for an undetermined amount of time.

On January 28th, the recall was expanded to include an unknown number of Toyota vehicles in Europe and China.

The following car models are affected by the Toyota’s accelerator pedal recall and suspension of sales.

2009-2010 RAV4 2009-2010 Corolla 2009-2010 Matrix 2005-2010 Avalon 2007-2010 Camry 2010 Highlander except hybrid models 2007-2010 Tundra 2008-2010 Sequoia
Also on Toyota’s consumer safety advisory website were answers to these questions:

What should I do if I believe my vehicle is affected by this condition, i.e. I have noticed that my accelerator pedal is hard to depress, slow to return or is unsmooth during operation. What should I do?

The vehicle should be driven to the nearest safe location, the engine shut off and a Toyota dealer contacted for assistance.

What if you experience a sticking accelerator pedal while driving?
Each circumstance may vary, and drivers must use their best judgment, but Toyota recommends taking one of the following actions:

• If you need to stop immediately, the vehicle can be controlled by stepping on the brake pedal with both feet using firm and steady pressure. Do not pump the brake pedal, as it will deplete the vacuum utilized for the power brake assist.

• Shift the transmission gear selector to the Neutral (N) position and use the brakes to make a controlled stop at the side of the road and turn off the engine.

• If unable to put the vehicle in Neutral, turn the engine OFF. This will not cause loss of steering or braking control, but the power assist to these systems will be lost.

• If the vehicle is equipped with an Engine Start/Stop button, firmly and steadily push the button for at least three seconds to turn off the engine. Do NOT tap the Engine Start/Stop button.

• If the vehicle is equipped with a conventional key-ignition, turn the ignition key to the ACC position to turn off the engine. Do NOT remove the key from the ignition, as this will lock the steering wheel.

If I am an owner of one of the affected vehicles, what action do I need to take?
Toyota is working quickly to prepare a correction remedy and will issue owner notifications in the future. No action is required at this time unless you feel you are experiencing this condition. If you are experiencing this condition, immediately contact your nearest Toyota Dealer for assistance.

The manufacturer goes on to say that while they are investigating the issue and developing a plan for a fixing the problem, they do not give specifics as to exactly how or when the alterations to the affected vehicles will take place.

In a related development, Ford Motor Co. has halted production of some full-sized commercial vehicles in China because they contain gas pedals built by the same company behind the accelerators in Toyota Motor Corp.’s recent recall. There were only about 1,600 vehicles involved, and they are large, industrial-use trucks, and therefore the action is not expected to impact the American passenger vehicle consumer.

Product liability cases involving potentially dangerous consumer products can traumatically effect people if an accident should occur,” says P.J. Scheiner, of Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner Personal Injury Lawyers, P.A. “We hope Toyota works to immediately rectify the faulty accelerator problem, and urge those who think their vehicle may be involved to take proper actions through Toyota’s dealerships.”
Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner Personal Injury Lawyers believes justice is worth fighting for, and has been aggressively representing motor vehicle crash victims since 1971. To learn more about our areas of practice and case results, visit www.focusedonjustice.com, or call 1-800-Dial-BLS.

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