I have written before about dangers presented by floor mat design in certain Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Toyota has now recalled almost four million vehicles because of this defect. If you have one of the affected vehicles, you need to remove the floor mats until Toyota comes up with a solution to the problem. Here are excerpts from an article by the Associated Press:
Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it will recall 3.8 million vehicles in the United States, the company’s largest-ever U.S. recall, to address problems with a removable floor mat that could cause accelerators to get stuck and lead to a crash.
The recall will involve popular models such as the Toyota Camry, the top-selling passenger car in America, and the Toyota Prius, the best-selling gas-electric hybrid.
Toyota said it was still working with officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to find a remedy to fix the problem and said owners could be notified about the recall as early as next week. Toyota spokesman Irv Miller said until the company finds a fix, owners should take out the removable floor mat on the driver’s side and not replace it.
“A stuck open accelerator pedal may result in very high vehicle speeds and make it difficult to stop a vehicle, which could cause a crash, serious injury or death,” Miller said.
“This is an urgent matter,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “For everyone’s sake, we strongly urge owners of these vehicles to remove mats or other obstacles that could lead to unintended acceleration.”
The recall will affect 2007-2010 model year Toyota Camry, 2005-2010 Toyota Avalon, 2004-2009 Toyota Prius, 2005-2010 Tacoma, 2007-2010 Toyota Tundra, 2007-2010 Lexus ES350 and 2006-2010 Lexus IS250 and IS350.
The Japanese automaker warned owners that if they think their vehicle is accelerating out of control, they should check to see whether their floor mat is under the pedal. If a driver can’t remove the floor mat, Toyota advises drivers to step on the brake pedal with both feet until the vehicle slows and then try to put it into neutral and switch the ignition to accessory power.
For vehicles with engine start/stop buttons, Toyota said the engine can be shut off by holding the button down for three seconds.
For more information, consumers can contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s hotline at (888) 327-4236, Toyota at (800) 331-4331 or Lexus at (800) 255-3987.