- Nov 6th 2009 at 10:01AM
REPORT: Toyota execs deny cover-up after feds rebuke automaker over runaway car investigation
Remember Toyota's massive 3.8 million unit unintended acceleration recall that was attributed to pesky floor mats? It appears defective floor mats doesn't tell the whole story, as the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration declared in a statement that "this (unintended acceleration) matter is not closed," adding "removal of the floor mats is simply an interim measure, not a remedy of the underlying defect in the vehicles."
Up to 2,000 Toyota customers claim to have experienced a sudden surge of acceleration, and some reportedly told ABC News that they didn't even have the recalled floor mats in their vehicles. Even more disturbing are the results of an ABC News investigation that reportedly found "hundreds" of accidents and up to 16 deaths as a result of unintended acceleration.
Four of those deaths occurred in August when an off-duty California Highway Patrol Officer, traveling with his wife, daughter and brother in-law, were killed after their Lexus accelerated uncontrollably. The driver's brother in-law called 911 and said that the brakes didn't work before the vehicle reached an intersection, struck another car, went into a ditch and caught fire. Some Toyota owners feel there is an electronic glitch in the system that controls the throttle and the ABC report shows that there is some anecdotal evidence which illustrates that incidents rose after the system was put into place in 2002, but so far, NHTSA has found no evidence to support those claims after six investigations.
ABC News caught up with Toyota Vice President Yukitoshi Funo (pictured second from left) and asked him if Toyota was covering anything up. Funo replied "It is not part of the Toyota culture and Toyota way to cover up anything," adding that the Japanese automaker is working with NHTSA to come up with an agreement on how to proceed going forward.
If you own a Toyota or Lexus and you are concerned about this issue, it appears that there is little that will be done in the short term other than tie down or remove the floor mats. If you do experience the acceleration issue, Consumer Reports suggests shifting your vehicle into neutral, pressing the brake and holding it down in an effort to bring your vehicle to a stop. This post and video from CR demonstrates how to effectively resolve the situation, and the risks of pumping the brakes. Turning off your vehicle could be a bad idea, as turning off the engine will also result in the loss of power steering and power brakes.
[Source: ABC News | Image: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty]