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Toyota Floor Mat And Gas Pedal Defects–Do They Cause Wrongful Deaths?

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Federal highway safety inspectors have released new details of a fatal car crash that triggered Toyota Motor Corp.’s largest recall, including a finding that the Lexus ES 350 sedan involved had a gas pedal design that could increase the risk of its being obstructed by a floor mat.

Although Toyota has previously said that the floor mat was improperly installed and may have trapped the accelerator pedal, the latest report by the National Highway Traffic discloses new details, including the fact that the brakes were heavily damaged, possibly due to a design defect in which the Lexus ES braking system loses power-assist when the throttle is fully opened. As consumer lawyers, we investigate whether these defects may have caused other collisions.

Further information indicates that the car was on loan from a Lexus dealership and that the driver may not have been aware how to turn the car off or whether there were other measures he could have taken after the pedal got stuck.

As personal injury attorneys (change to dangerous products attorneys) , we often see the tragic results of poorly designed cars and trucks. The car dealer owed a duty to provide a safe car, however this story shows that we cannot always rely on those whom we believe we can trust. Before driving an unfamiliar vehicle, you might want to inspect the vehicle to determine whether the floor mats are installed properly and whether there is any condition that might interfere with the accelerator or brake pedals.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that last month, Toyota announced the largest recall in its history, asking drivers of 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles to remove their floor mats until a permanent remedy is devised. The recall affects the following Toyota models:

  • 2007 – 2010 Camry
  • 2005 – 2010 Avalon
  • 2004 – 2009 Prius
  • 2005 – 2010 Tacoma
  • 2007 – 2010 Tundra
  • 2007 – 2010 ES350
  • 2006 – 2010 IS250 and IS350

2 Comments

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  1. Steve Baker says:
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    We have recently bought a 2010Camry LE. I have one question.Why hasn’t this problem been disclosed from the salesman that sold me the car?When you walk into a dealership that has been selling a brand of car with a reoccuring problem and they know it ,it should be disclosed to the buyer at time of purchase instead of buyer beware.thank you for your time.

  2. Yo Gabba says:
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    They only cause wrongful deaths if the driver is too stupid to turn off the ignition or at the very least slip it into neutral. If this is the case, then is this really a wrongful death at all, or simply natures way of cleaning up the gene pool.

    That said, turning off the key is easy for the regular vehicle…slipping into neutral is easier since you still have power steering as apposed to unassisted control…but turning off the engine is easier on it. On the fancy push button engine, one should know they to turn those off, they have to hold the ignition button in 3-4 seconds as apposed to just pressing it…but even if they did not know that, the neutral gear would have still been a viable option.