So far, over 8.5 million Toyota cars have been recalled and company executives proclaimed the problem would be fixed with a steel reinforcement rod to be placed on their gas pedals. Well, that appears to be misleading considering the testimony they gave in front of Congress. James Lentz, president of Toyota Motor Sales USA, admitted that the massive recall and proposed fix to their gas pedal may not completely solve the sudden acceleration problem with the company’s cars. Mr. Lentz, along with Akio Toyoda (the grandson of the company’s founder), apologized numerous times for the mishandling of the recall and continued problems with their cars, according to the Huffington Post.
A portion of the Congressional hearings was devoted to Toyota drivers recalling their harrowing experiences when their cars suddenly accelerated. One of these victims was Rhonda Smith. Her Lexus sped up to 100 miles an hour and nothing she did to try to stop the car worked. Ms. Smith was finally able to pull off the road onto a median and turn off the engine.
Here is Ms. Smith’s testimony in front of Congress…
The most troubling aspect of her testimony was the response Toyota gave when she reported the incident. In her words, the company was “dismissive,” according to the Huff-Post article. But Ms. Smith is one of the lucky Toyota drivers. Others have suffered serious injuries from car wrecks or even died due to sudden acceleration. In fact, at least 34 people have died in car crashes involving sudden acceleration in the past decade, according to the LA Times.
Internal company documents appear to point to Toyota putting profits over people’s safety. They were alerted to the sudden acceleration problem years ago, but failed to take any serious action. Now, they’re facing some tough questions from Congress and major criticism from consumers; and rightfully so. Their inaction may have contributed to the serious car accident injuries and deaths that have occurred due to this sudden acceleration problem…and the problem may not even be solved.
Hopefully, as the Congressional investigation deepens, all of their relevant information to this situation will be brought to light and Toyota takes the necessary steps to actually correct this serious safety problem.
About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (NC-VA law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard, Virginia Beach Injuryboard, and Norfolk Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers.