Firstly, I'd like you to watch this video (it might be part of why I am so upset, and yes, I realize there are probably lots of other incidents, equally as tragic, that don't involve Toyota malfunctions, but this could have been avoided--the deaths of 39 human beings, who probably went through the same horror, could have been avoided:
So here is an overview of the situation:
- Between 2000 and 2010, over 2,600 complaints"of sudden unintended acceleration" in Toyota vehicles were filed with the NHTSA (a government agency that is supposed to protect us from these kinds of things.)
- March 2004, the government conducts one investigation of the problem and closes it a month later.
- Between 2004 and 2009, four petitions are brought to the NHTSA by Toyota owners begging them to conduct more investigations; the requests are ignored.
- Before any action is taken, 243 people are injured and 16 die (numbers from a Safety Research & Strategies study).
- 2007, their solution is: recall floormats because they are bunching up under the accelerator. (Total bullshit that nearly everyone involved in the accidents denies. Internal memos reveal Toyota applauding their safety department for finding a way to "limit the recall" and "save the company 100 million or more".) (It's really, really disgusting.)
- 2007-2010, a lot more people die or come close to dying:
In Portland, Oregon, Marianna Eisner's Lexus crashed into a truck after it shot out of control on the freeway in September. Said Eisner, "I did have a fleeting thought that this may be the day that I die."She said that prior to the incident, she had already heard about the floor mat problem and made a point of checking hers. "The mat was nowhere near the accelerator," said Eisner.
The driver of a Toyota Camry whose wife was killed when their vehicle went over a cliff in California said that even with his foot on the brake he could not stop his car.
"All of a sudden," said Bulent Ezal, "the car surged with force and I was thrown back to the seat."
Elizabeth James said her Toyota Prius suddenly shot up to 90 miles an hour when her foot was not on the gas pedal. "I'm absolutely certain that in my situation, it was not the floor mats," said James.
"A fatal accident near San Diego this August that took the lives of California Highway patrol officer Mark Saylor, his wife, daughter and brother-in-law drew attention to the problem of 'runaway Toyotas.' The Lexus they were driving, borrowed from a dealer, raced out of control at 100 miles an hour before hitting another vehicle, crashing into an embankment and bursting into flames. Right before the crash, Saylor's brother-in-law called 911 from the backseat of the vehicle and said urgently, "Our accelerator is stuck. We're in trouble…There's no brakes." "
--ABC News (here's a video of the b.s. floor mat excuse.)
- 2009-2010, Toyota recalls 6.3 million cars, all recent models ( But over 70% of the malfunctions happened in car models they are not recalling; the reason they aren't recalling that 70%? Well, probably, because it would bankrupt them.)
The other day, Rush Limbaugh (defender of corporations here, there, and on the moon) asked, "Does anyone doubt, ladies and gentlemen, that Toyota does a good job making safe affordable cars?"
I can think of a few.