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Deadly Toyota Floor Mats to be Recalled

Largest safety recall in history is coming from Toyota Motor Sales, which is accused of withholding accident data.

by on Sep.29, 2009

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"If a floor mat is not secured, there is the potential for the floor mat to slide forward and trap the accelerator pedal.”

Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. will soon launch a safety campaign on 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles to remove floor mats that may have caused deaths because of a stuck accelerator pedal.

Irv Miller, Toyota vice president of communications, said the recall is aimed at a problem where floor mats can interfere with proper operation of accelerator.

“If a floor mat is not secured, there is the potential for the floor mat to slide forward and trap the accelerator pedal,”  Miller said.

“This will be the largest recall ever for Toyota,” Miller said.  “We will be working very diligently to get his resolved,” Miller said. The old record for a Toyota recall involved 900,000 vehicles in 2005.

Recall News!

Recall News!

Last month, a California State Highway Patrol officer and three family members were killed when their loaner Lexus ES350 crashed at 100 mph after its accelerator froze from a misplaced floor mat.

Until Toyota develops a remedy, it is asking owners of specific Toyota and Lexus models to take out any removable driver’s floor mat and not replace it with any other floor mat.

The following models are affected:

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

Should the vehicle continue to accelerate rapidly after releasing the accelerator pedal, this could be floor mat interference. If this occurs, Toyota recommends the driver take the following actions:

  • First, if it is possible and safe to do so, pull back the floor mat and dislodge it from the accelerator pedal; then pull over and stop the vehicle.
  • If the floor mat cannot be dislodged, then firmly and steadily step on the brake pedal with both feet. Do NOT pump the brake pedal repeatedly as this will increase the effort required to slow the vehicle.
  • Shift the transmission gear selector to the Neutral (N) position and use the brakes to make a controlled stop at the side of the road and turn off the engine.
  • If unable to put the vehicle in Neutral, turn the engine OFF, or to the ACC position. This will not cause loss of steering or braking control, but the power assist to these systems will be lost.
  • If the vehicle is equipped with an Engine Start/Stop button, firmly and steadily push the button for at least three seconds to turn off the engine. Do not tap the Engine Start/Stop button.
  • If the vehicle is equipped with a conventional key-ignition, turn the ignition key to the ACC position to turn off the engine. Do not remove the key from the ignition as this will lock the steering wheel.

In the event owners choose not to remove their floor mat, Toyota strongly recommends that they ensure that the correct floor mat is being used, that it is properly installed and secured, that it is not flipped over with bottom-side up, and that one floor mat is not stacked over another.

All-weather floor mats are installed by Toyota and Lexus dealers or customers as an accessory item.

On August 28, 2009, California Highway Patrol officer Mark Saylor and three members of his family, Cleofe, Mahala, and Cleofe’s brother Chris Lastrella died on a highway near San Diego California, while driving a 2009 ES350 lent to them by a local Lexus dealer.

One of  the tragic questions thus far unresolved is why didn’t a trained police officer, who was on the phone to 911 when the accident occurred, simply put the car in neutral or press the large start-stop button to the right of the steering wheel?

Information on proper floor mat installation can be found at Toyota or Lexus websites.

Owners with questions or concerns, are asked to please contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center (1 800 331-4331) or Lexus Customer Assistance Center (1 800 255¬3987).

Joe Szczesny contributed to this story.

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2 Responses to “Deadly Toyota Floor Mats to be Recalled”

  1. SR Bloxham says:

    A chp officer who can’t stop a car in an emergency?
    Sounds like there’s more to this story than a bad floormat.

  2. harry says:

    What roll do the distributors have in this? It is often hard to find a Toyota that they haven’t loaded up with accessories.