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Don’t Drive Recalled Toyotas Says Transportation Secretary

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 12:42 PM EST
Category: On The Road
Tags: Toyota, Recall, Sudden Acceleration, Auto Accident, Floor Mats, Tundra, Saylor, Prius, Brake Override

Prius complaints coming into NHTSA concerning braking and acceleration problems.

Prius Braking Complaints Too

LEARN MORE

  • Toyota Web site
  • House Energy and Commerce Committee Web site
  • Toyota Customer Service line 800-331-4331
  • IB Partner, Lansing, David Mittleman – Heat is on for Toyota- February 2010
  • IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons/ runaway Prius

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says park your recalled Toyotas for now.

His apparently off the cuff comment came today in testimony before a House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, reports the Detroit Free Press.

His recommendations - “Stop driving it. Take it to a Toyota dealer because they believe they have a fix for it.”

The most recent recall involves 2.3 million vehicles and the problematic sticking gas pedals that have led to 19 deaths so far. LaHood says Toyota owners should “exercise caution until repairs can be made.”

Toyota dealers reportedly do not have the parts to immediately fix all 5.6 million cars and trucks that have been recalled. The pedal recall of 2.3 million models may not be available until April.

Toyota is confident that the “fix” part it is sending to auto dealers will solve the sticking gas pedal problem and that another repair involving floor mats will end the acceleration problem.

Not everyone has confidence in the automaker’s remedy. LaHood says that even though Toyota says the computers in its cars are not at fault, NHTSA will look at the possibility of electromagnetic interference with the accelerator systems.

Mr. LaHood said earlier Wednesday he wants to talk directly with Toyota Chief Executive Akio Toyoda about the safety concerns involving Toyota cars and the company's handling of those issues. And congress will be directing questions at Toyota execs February 25.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Toyota Motor Corp. shares sank after the LaHood announcement 7.8% to $72.06. The stock had been hovering around $75 earlier in the morning.

Prius Owner Complaints Over Faulty Brakes

So far at least 96 consumer complaints have been lodged concerning the Prius hybrid and braking and sudden acceleration problems. That is more than double the number of complaints concerning all flaws in the 2009 model. The Detroit Free Press reviewed federal data from the NTSB and found most of the complaints say the Prius suddenly accelerated after traveling over a bump or pothole. Two injuries and two crashes have been reported.

One Prius owner complains, “This has almost resulted in the Prius striking the car in front of it. It makes it impossible to safely judge your braking distance in order to come to a safe stop because you never know when this phenomenon will occur.”

The Prius is not covered by the Toyota recall of 2.3 million vehicles for the sticking accelerator pedal problem.

The Prius is as hybrid vehicle that uses “regenerative” braking. That uses the motion of the car to recharge batteries while slowing down along with regular brakes.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Apply co-founder, Steve Wozniak, reports his Toyota Prius accelerates on its own, as much as 97 mph, when he used cruise control.

He tapped the brakes to stop the acceleration. Toyota has plans to borrow Wozniak’s car for a week to diagnose the problem. Before he went to the media, Wozniak says he could get no one to listen. His model Prius has not been recalled. #


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