Toyota ended the old year trying to decisively shut the door on sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) problems in its Toyota and Lexus vehicles, but it’s unlikely that the automaker’s troubles are gone with 2009.
A one-car crash in Dallas, Texas that left four dead the day after Christmas may be yet another incident to punch a hole in Toyota’s floor mat interference theory. The four occupants of a 2008 Toyota Avalon died after the sedan inexplicably went off the road, crashed through a fence and landed upside down in a pond. Investigators have already ruled out the floor mats – which were found in the trunk – as the cause.
Safety Research & Strategies, which has been tracking Toyota SUA, continues to review incidents that can’t be explained by floor mat interference, including one which a Toyota dealer witnessed.
One New Jersey owner of a 2007 Avalon described multiple instances of the vehicle accelerating of its own accord. In the first incident, the driver was able to slow the Avalon with brakes, and stop it by shifting into neutral as the engine raced to maximum RPMs. An initial check by the dealer didn’t reveal any problems. The most recent incident ended with the dealer witnessing the out-of-control vehicle engine and overheated brakes – with no floor mat interference.
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