Toyota sued by Allstate over sudden-acceleration insurance claims

Like every other automaker, Toyota is always looking to increase the safety of its vehicles, be it through investing millions of dollars towards R&D or incorporating new safety measures as standard equipment. It's also working hard to fully restore its recently tarnished public image. Hurdles do keep popping up now and again, however, with the latest one has been placed by Allstate. According to the Los Angeles Times, the insurance company is seeking $3 million in compensation as a result of 270 claims of sudden acceleration.

The suit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on October 1, 2010. Allstate claims that the suit was a last resort as a result of failed out-of-court negotiations. However, a spokesperson for the automakers says "the unfounded allegations in this suit have no basis."

Toyota recently announced that it has resolved issues with over five million vehicles, as a result of three main recalls. Nearly two million of the vehicles had stuck accelerator issues while the other three million had their floormats replaced or repaired.

Complaints of sudden acceleration have fallen by 80 percent since April of 2010. At its peak, the claims averaged 800 per week but have since fallen to around 150 per week. Toyota has dispatched safety review teams to examine over 4,000 vehicles and has yet to find an instance of sudden acceleration being caused by anything electrical. Regardless, the automaker is increasing the standard safety features fitted to its vehicles, the latest of which is Smart-Stop, a brake override system that engages when the throttle is open greater than 33 percent, the vehicle speed is over 5 miles per hour and the brakes are pressed firmly. Allstate believes that Toyota vehicles should already have featured this technology.

[Source: Los Angeles Times | Image: Ramin Talaie/Getty]

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