The Toyota recall situation is very serious. When safety is involved, it is crucial that consumers get their information from authoritative sources. In the current situation, NHTSA is one of those high-value sources.
As a recent Christian Science Monitor editorial reminds its readers:
It's worth noting that it was US safety officials who pushed a reluctant Toyota to finally recall and stop selling millions of vehicles with a potential accelerator problem.
The most important thing I can do right now is be crystal clear to readers about this:
- Both DOT and Toyota take these recalls very seriously and are taking aggressive action to remedy the safety issues identified.
- NHTSA has issued a consumer advisory for certain models of Toyota, Lexus and Pontiac Vibe vehicles. If you own one of those manufacturers' vehicles, please consult the advisory at the link above.
- Two separate issues have been identified. One concerns pedal entrapment and floor mats, the other a sticky accelerator pedal. While both safety issues are serious, I want to stress that they are unlikely.
What should owners of vehicles covered by the recalls do?
- Follow the specific guidance provided by NHTSA and Toyota. You do not need to stop driving potentially affected vehicles unless you detect a problem. But if you are experiencing problems, stop driving and immediately contact your dealer.
- When you receive a remedy notice, please contact your local dealer and get your vehicle fixed as soon as possible.
- Consumer safety complaints are an important source of information for NHTSA; if you notice safety problems, please let us know at the link above.
Regarding pedal stickiness:
- Pay attention to your gas pedal. If it is harder to depress than normal, or if it is slower to return, this may be a precursor to a sticky pedal. If you detect either of these conditions, please park the vehicle and contact the dealer immediately.
- To make sure dealers have the labor and resources to implement the remedy for either situation, owners of a recalled vehicle that is not exhibiting symptoms of pedal stickiness should wait until you receive a remedy notice before going to the dealer.
Regarding pedal entrapment:
- If a pedal becomes stuck while driving, put your car in neutral, bring it to a stop and call the dealer.
- Pedal entrapment occurs when a pedal becomes trapped by an out of place or unsecured floor mat.
- This is easy to prevent, and I encourage you to take this action: remove all floor mats on the driver’s side of the vehicle or ensure that the mats are properly secured. Check to make sure any mats are properly secured after a car wash, servicing, or other activity during which they might have been moved. Do not ever stack mats on top of each other.
2010 Prius braking investigation launched.
I also want readers to know that NHTSA announced today it is opening a formal investigation of the 2010 Toyota Prius to look into allegations of momentary loss of braking capability while traveling over an uneven road surface, pothole or bump.
On the Prius braking issue, our Office of Defects Investigation has received 124 reports from consumers, including four alleging that crashes occurred. Investigators have spoken with consumers and conducted pre-investigatory field work.
- Owners of 2010 model Prius vehicles should contact your dealer if you notice changes in your braking performance.
I hope this helps all drivers of affected vehicles figure out an approach to these recalls and the 2010 Prius braking investigation. This is a serious situation, and we are taking it seriously.
Now, I want everyone to know that NHTSA has the most active defect investigation program in the world, opening at least one investigation almost every week.
Over just the last three years, NHTSA’s defect and compliance investigations have resulted in 524 recalls involving 23.5 million vehicles. Of the 100 investigations NHTSA opens in an average year, there are currently 40 open defect investigations, three of which involve Toyota.
NHTSA will continue to make sure Toyota is doing all it has promised to make its vehicles safe. We will continue to investigate all possible causes of these safety issues.
But it's also important to remember that, fundamentally, Toyota has a strong safety record and is a good corporate citizen. Yesterday, I spoke with Toyota president, Akio Toyoda. He reassured me that Toyota takes U.S. safety concerns very seriously and that safety is the company's top priority.
We are pleased to see the company currently being responsive to NHTSA’s concerns and working aggressively to remedy these safety issues.