Toyota just issued a warning to consumers about a defective floor mat that can force down the accelerator pedal on many of their popular models. The mats have already been cited as the cause of four deaths in September of 2009 when an off duty California state trooper and three family members were involved in a fatal collision in the San Diego area while driving a 2009 Lexus ES350. A 911 tape from just before the crash recorded one of the passengers in the vehicle as saying the accelerator was stuck and the car was reaching 120 miles per hour.
Investigators from Toyota have concluded the driver side floor mats can become loose and cause an accelerator pedal to become stuck. When this occurs, the car rapidly accelerates and attempts to brake or shut off the ignition often can’t be done quickly enough to prevent a dangerous situation. Toyota has now issued a recall for select models. The recall includes the popular Prius hybrid. Other models involved include the Camry and the Avalon, as well the popular Tundra and Tacoma pickup trucks. Models recalled from the Lexus line are the IS250, IS350 and ES350 sedans. A U.S. government agency recently reported it has received over 100 reports of problems caused by the defective floor mats. Of those, 17 involved vehicle crashes and five of those involved fatalities. The company and U.S. safety regulators have now issued warnings to consumers to immediately remove all driver-side floor mats from eight Toyota and Lexus models manufactured in the last six years. Details as to specific models affected can be found at Toyota’s website, http://www.toyota.com or by calling Toyota at 1-800-331-4331 or Lexus at 1-800-255-3987.