NHTSA Statement Concerning The Safety Recall of 3.8 million Toyota Vehicles

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.

NHTSA 110409
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Karen Aldana
Telephone: (202) 366-9550

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a statement today correcting inaccurate and misleading information put out by Toyota concerning a safety recall involving 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles:

A press release put out by Toyota earlier this week about their recall of 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles inaccurately stated NHTSA had reached a conclusion "that no defect exists in vehicles in which the driver’s floor mat is compatible with the vehicle and properly secured." NHTSA has told Toyota and consumers that removing the recalled floor mats is the most immediate way to address the safety risk and avoid the possibility of the accelerator becoming stuck. But it is simply an interim measure. 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. Safety is the number one priority for NHTSA and this is why officials are working with Toyota to find the right way to fix this very dangerous problem. This matter is not closed until Toyota has effectively addressed the defect by providing a suitable vehicle based solution.

NHTSA constantly monitors consumer complaints and other data. This comprehensive recall focuses on pedal entrapment by floor mats, but NHTSA will fully investigate any possible defect trends in these vehicles.


  • On September 29, 2009, NHTSA issued a Consumer Alert warning owners of Toyota and Lexus vehicles about "conditions that could cause the accelerator to get stuck open." As an interim measure, NHTSA "strongly encouraged" owners of specific models to take out the removable driver’s side floor mats and not to replace them any other type of mat. NHTSA warned consumers "a stuck accelerator may result in very high vehicle speeds and a crash, which could cause serious injury or death."
  • On the same day, Toyota issued a voluntary recall of 3.8 million vehicles to address problems caused when removable floor mats push the accelerator pedal to the floor.
  • NHTSA officials are meeting with Toyota to hear their action plan for redesigning the vehicles and correcting this very serious defect.