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What's Up Toyota? (Toyota-Lexus Recall Another 154,000 for "Pedal Entrapment")

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Is this deja vu all over again with Toyota and the "sudden unintended acceleration" incidents? It seems to be so, but time will hopefully out the real cause of these acceleration events. Toyota (Lexus) recalled 154,000 Lexus RX350 and 450h (hybrid) SUV's late last week. The recall is to address those "trapped" and "sticky" accelerator pedals. There have been 12 reported accidents with 2 of those causing minor injuries concerning the recently recalled models.

What is going on with Toyota and Lexus? It would seem that engineering pedals that would not be entrapped by floormats is within the capability of Toyota and Lexus, but this seemingly simple car design issue has apparently flummoxed one of the world's largest car makers. Or, maybe it is not the floormats that are the real culprit here, but instead the accelerator pedal system, in which case it would still seem to be within Toyota engineers' ability to rectify the problem, right? The best answer to the latter question would appear to be the overwhelming vast majority of other car manufacturers who seem to be able to overcome this large engineering hurdle. Surely, Toyota and Lexus do not have a disproportionate number of owners who suffer from some medical condition that causes them to "misapply" the accelerator pedal.

Regardless, Toyota and Lexus have recalled more than 10 million vehicles since 2009 to address sudden unintended acceleration events. Has any other car manufacturer had this problem at this magnitude? The answer is no.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has "observed an increase in consumer complaints and other reports regarding pedal entrapment in these vehicles." Toyota also confirmed a large volume of complaints. Keep in mind that Toyota has paid almost $49 million in fines over the past several years for not recalling its cars and trucks quickly enough when knowing of problems regarding these acceleration events. There have reportedly been at least 93 deaths from Toyota sudden acceleration events in the past approximately 10 years.

Why can't Toyota get this right? This is a problem that will not go away.