Toyota Giving Drivers "False Reassurances" Congressman Says

60+ drivers tell NHTSA cars keep surging out of control after being fixed.

March 3, 2010, 9:04 PM

Mar. 4, 2010— -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said tonight is has received more than 60 complaints from Toyota drivers whose vehicles are still experiencing sudden unintended acceleration, even though the cars have already been recalled and supposedly fixed.

"Officials are contacting each and every consumer to learn more about what they say is happening," NHTSA said in a statement.


The federal safety agency has also "asked Toyota to provide information about any complaints it has received from customers," NHTSA said. "If it appears that a remedy provided by Toyota is not addressing the problem it was intended to fix, NHTSA has the authority to order Toyota to provide a different solution."

The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee said today that Toyota still hasn't proved its giant recall is solving potentially fatal safety problems.

"They are false reassurances that people are getting from Toyota if, after the recall, after their car is supposed to be fixed, there is still this problem of sudden acceleration," Rep. Henry Waxman, D-C.A., told ABC News.

In Whitesville, Kentucky, Toyota driver Carolyn Kimbrell said her 2006 Toyota Avalon continues to surge unexpectedly, even after the dealer made sure it complied with the accelerator pedal recall.

"It's a pretty scary feeling when you're trying to stop your car and it won't stop," Kimbrell said.

Waxman said Toyota still hasn't proved that the sudden acceleration problems are not caused by an electronic glitch with its vehicles.

"Cars are being recalled to be fixed and they're not being fixed," said Waxman. "That means that they haven't found out why this problem is occurring. And they insist that it's not the electronics. But they haven't shown us the evidence upon which they base their conclusion."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has received more than 15 similar post-recall complaints from Toyota owners in the last week.

Among the complaints is a driver who said that even though her 2009 Toyota Matrix had its brakes and pas ???pedal serviced Feb. 10, the car was still uncontrollable Feb. 26.

"I was driving about 5 MPH in a parking area with my son," the woman wrote to NHTSA. "I put my foot on the brake and I felt the car push forward… My son said "It's doing it again Mom!"

A 2008 Toyota Avalon owner said the car was backing out of a driveway a few days after being serviced "when it accelerated on its own and the car did about 3 loops around the garage area of the home causing damage to the car, benches, tree, bushes, lamp post, etc."

Toyota Recall

Another complaint says a 2010 Toyota Camry surged suddenly just five days after having its recall work done.

The new post-recall complaints were first noted in a report by Safety Research & Strategies (SRS), a private research firm based in Rehoboth, Mass.

According to SRS, "Toyota executives are confident that their recalls will end the SUA complaints - they've said that into every microphone that's been put in front of them. Some consumers who have taken their recalled vehicles in for the fix have a different story."

In response to the new complaints, Toyota said it has "found no evidence in these investigations of a failure of either vehicle electronics or of the recent remedies that Toyota has announced for floor mat entrapment and sticking accelerator pedals."

"As soon as we received these new reports, our new on-site inspection "SWAT team" moved quickly to investigate them," the Toyota statement continues. "We have submitted the results of this initial review to NHTSA. Though these reports involve a tiny fraction of the more than one million vehicles our dealers have repaired to date, we take them extremely seriously."

Former ABC News producer Stewart Stogel said the newly-installed failsafe system, which cuts off power when the brake is pressed, in his 2009 Toyota Camry is not working at moderate speed.

Even though a Toyota dealer performed all the recall procedures, "the car has lurched out of control on at least one occasion since the fix," Stogel said.

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