Accelerator Pedal Issues Prompts Latest Toyota Recall

Toyota announced plans to recall 2.3 million U.S. vehicles to fix accelerator pedals that are sticking. The timing of the recall coincided with the ABC News and 10News investigations concerning sudden acceleration problems in certain Toyota models.

This tragic accident in Santee off the 125 last summer started the investigation into sudden acceleration. A passenger in the car called 911. He said, "Our accelerator is stuck. We're in trouble. We can't ... there's no brakes."

San Diegan Mark Saylor, an off duty California Highway Patrol officer and his family died after their loaner Lexus ES 350 sped out of control and crashed.

After the Santee crash, Toyota issued a recall of 4.2 million cars, saying the floor mats were improperly installed, likely causing the accelerators to get stuck.

Then in December 2009, four Texans drowned after their Toyota Avalon allegedly suddenly accelerated, causing the vehicle to drive through a metal fence, into a pond near Dallas. The Avalon's floor mats were in the car's trunk, indicating they couldn't have been the cause of the acceleration.

"It's a huge problem that must get solved soon," said auto safety expert Sean Kane who reports 56 incidents of runaway Toyota and Lexus vehicles since the floor mat recall last November.

"It seemed like the more I hit the brake, the more it wanted to accelerate," explained Kevin Haggerty, a New Jersey man who experienced sudden acceleration in his 2007 Toyota Avalon. He shifted into neutral and drove to his Toyota dealership.

"They replaced the throttle body and the accelerator pedal assembly," said Haggerty whose experience showing the Avalon to Toyota dealership staff was the first known sudden acceleration incident to be witnessed by Toyota representatives.

In a statement, Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons said:"Toyota takes the issue of unwanted acceleration very seriously, as underscored by our ongoing recall. As part of our commitment to the safety of our customers and the public, Toyota constantly monitors product reports and customer complaints and works to identify any defect trends. We are confident that we're doing the right thing for our customers, and we will continue to do so. We will remain vigilant in thoroughly investigating incidents of unwanted acceleration, including those cited by ABC, and taking appropriate measures to address any defect trends that are identified."

Toyota said Thursday's recall was separate from the on-going floor mat recall. TMS Group Vice President Irv Miller explained, "In recent months, Toyota has investigated isolated reports of sticking accelerator pedal mechanisms in certain vehicles without the presence of floor mats. Our investigation indicates that there is a possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may, in rare instances, mechanically stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position. Consistent with our commitment to the safety of our cars and our customers, we have initiated this voluntary recall action."

The latest recall affects eight Toyota models including 2007-2010 Tundra, 2005-2010 Avalon, and 2009-2010 Corolla, among others. Lexus and Scion vehicles were exempt from the accelerator pedal recall. Consumers with questions or comments can contact Toyota by phone at 800-331-4331.

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