By now, we are all aware of the problems that have been reported concerning Toyota automobiles. Over the last year, millions of cars have been included in three separate recalls aimed at fixing various problems related to acceleration pedals, floor mats, and braking systems. Now, a recent auto accident occurring in western Utah has put these problems back in the news and has raised new questions about both the effectiveness of the recalls and the effectiveness of the fixes employed by Toyota.
The most recent accident occurred when the driver of a 2008 Toyota Camry attempted to exit Interstate 80 in Utah and was unable to stop as he proceeded down the exit ramp. He reportedly went through a stop sign at the bottom of the ramp and continued accelerating until his car collided with a wall. Both the driver and one passenger died in the crash, while two other passengers suffered injuries.
According to the statements of the survivors and the evidence collected at the scene of the crash, the Utah Highway Patrol is under the impression that the car's gas pedal may have been stuck before the accident. The brakes of the Camry were reported to be in working order and tire skid marks on the interstate ramp indicate that the driver was at least attempting to stop or slow down before crashing.
A spokesman for the Utah Highway Patrol has said that it is too early to make any definitive determination of the cause of this fatal car crash, but he indicated that Toyota is assisting in the continued investigation of the matter. In situations such as these, it is reportedly common for Toyota to assist investigators by checking a car's "black box" to determine exactly what was going on mechanically in the car at the time of the crash.
While this tragic accident is disturbing in its own right, it also raises the troubling question of whether this particular vehicle had been fixed under the recalls. Further, how many cars currently on the road have yet to be serviced in accordance with the announced recalls?
Source: LA Times, Toyota gas pedal safety back in spotlight after two die in Camry crash in western Utah, Brock Vergakis and Ken Thomas, 11/15/10