Toyota believes the problems are caused by stuck gas pedals or misplaced floor mats that trapped the gas pedals. Independent testing by NASA and other outside laboratories agreed with Toyota and concluded driver error was also a contributing factor.
The Department of Transportation, on the other hand, was quick to point out that other than a small number of incidents causes by pedals hanging up on floor mats, the majority of accidents were caused by driver error, or “pedal misapplication” as they likes to call it.
In September 209 Toyota recalled 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles because of a defect that might cause the floor mats to jam under the accelerator pedals. From 2009-2010 the number of recalled vehicles topped 10 million vehicles, with Toyota eventually issing a recall for the pedals themselves.
It’s believed unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles may have been involved in the deaths of 89 people over the past decade.
Intensive Settlement Process
In December, 2013, Toyota and its lawyers announced they were in an “intensive settlement process” to resolve lawsuits claiming the company’s vehicles suddenly accelerated, causing injuries and in some cases death. This move towards settlement comes less than two months after Toyota lost its first trial in a lawsuit which claimed an electronic defect can cause its vehicles to speed up uncontrollably.
Toyota settled after an Oklahoma City jury ordered the company to pay $3 million.