TORRANCE, CA --- Toyota Motor Corp. said it is recalling 3.8 million vehicles sold in the U.S. because of concerns that floor mats in those vehicles could cause their gas pedals to get stuck and accelerate uncontrollably.
The recall covers the following models:
- 2007 - 2010 Camry
- 2005 - 2010 Avalon
- 2004 - 2009 Prius
- 2005 - 2010 Tacoma
- 2007 - 2010 Tundra
- 2007-2010 Lexus ES 350
- 2006-2010 Lexus IS 250 and IS 350
Concerns over the floor mats have grown since a fatal accident in August. California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor and three others were killed on State Route 125 in Santee, near San Diego, when his 2009 Lexus ES 350 struck an SUV, hit an embankment, rolled over and burst into flames. About a minute before the crash, someone in the vehicle had called 911, saying the accelerator was stuck, the brakes didn't work, and the car's speed had reached 120 mph.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigators preliminarily concluded that a rubber all-weather floor mat discovered in the wreckage was slightly longer than the mat designed specifically for that vehicle, the Associated Press reported. A final report on the accident, however, is still pending. NHTSA said the agency has received reports of 102 incidents in which the gas pedal may have become stuck on the Toyota vehicles involved.
"Recent events have prompted Toyota to take a closer look at the potential for an accelerator pedal to get stuck in the full open position due to an unsecured or incompatible driver's floor mat," Toyota said in a statement released this week. "A stuck open accelerator pedal may result in very high vehicle speeds and make it difficult to stop the vehicle, which could cause a crash, serious injury or death."
Until the automaker develops a remedy, Toyota is asking owners of specific Toyota and Lexus models to take out any removable driver's floor mat and not replace it with any other floor mat.
Should the vehicle continue to accelerate rapidly after releasing the accelerator pedal, this could be an indication of floor mat interference. If this occurs, Toyota recommends the driver take the following actions:
- First, if it is possible and safe to do so, pull back the floor mat and dislodge it from the accelerator pedal. Then pull over and stop the vehicle.
- If the floor mat cannot be dislodged, then firmly and steadily step on the brake pedal with both feet. Do not pump the brake pedal repeatedly since this will increase the effort required to slow the vehicle.
- Shift the transmission gear selector to the Neutral (N) position and use the brakes to make a controlled stop at the side of the road and turn off the engine.
- If unable to put the vehicle in Neutral, turn the engine off, or to ACC. This will not cause loss of steering or braking control, but the power assist to these systems will be lost.
- If the vehicle is equipped with an Engine Start/Stop button, firmly and steadily push the button for at least three seconds to turn off the engine. Do not tap the Engine Start/Stop button.
- If the vehicle is equipped with a conventional key-ignition, turn the ignition key to the ACC position to turn off the engine. Do not remove the key from the ignition since this will lock the steering wheel.
If owners choose not to remove their floor mat, Toyota strongly recommends that they ensure that the correct floor mat is being used, that it is properly installed and secured, that it is not flipped over with bottom-side up, and that one floor mat is not stacked over another. Information on proper floor mat installation can be found on www.toyota.com.