CAS Statement on 11-25-09 Toyota Uncontrolled Acceleration Recall

The Center for Auto Safety is the nation’s premier independent, member driven, non-profit consumer advocacy organization dedicated to improving vehicle safety, quality, and fuel economy on behalf of all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

              Statement of CAS Executive Director Clarence Ditlow

Toyota’s recall of 3.8 million vehicles to replace gas pedals, reshape the floor pan and install smart pedals (a system that cuts engine power when both brake and accelerator pedals are applied simultaneously) presents more questions than answers.
● Why doesn’t Toyota’s recall cover the millions of vehicles made before 2005 that were the subject of six government (NHTSA) unintended acceleration investigations and defect petitions since 2003?
● Why don’t all 3.8 million vehicles in the recall get smart pedals?
● If unintended acceleration is caused by floor mats getting trapped under the gas pedal, how does Toyota explain unintended acceleration in vehicles without floor mats?
● Since Toyota recalled the Lexus LS200 for floor mat interference in Britain in September 2000, why did it take so long to recall in the US?
● What’s the difference in gas pedal design between a recalled 2005 and a non-recalled 2004 Camry?
Toyota should install smart pedals (brake override system) in everyone of the 3.8 million vehicles and all vehicles made since 1997 with drive by wire systems (electronic connections between gas pedal and throttle) because floor mat interference is not the root cause of unintended acceleration incidents. Toyota and NHTSA should admit that they don’t know the cause of all unintended acceleration incidents and treat the problem by using the vehicle’s computer to back off on engine power when both the brakes and throttle are applied. NHTSA should issue a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard requiring smart pedals in all new vehicles.