After two massive, unrelated recalls since October, Toyota is facing yet another investigation in response to more than 100 reports and complaints of brake issues with the Toyota Prius. The model mainly in question is the 2010 Prius, as consumers are reporting brake failures that have led to an unknown number of automobile accidents and possible injuries. The Prius is the top-selling hybrid automobile in the world, and the majority of its sales are in California.
According to Prius owners – including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak – the problem isn’t limited to brake issues. Wozniak stated that his Prius experienced sudden unintended acceleration, hitting a top speed of 97 mph. Sudden unintended acceleration, of course, is the reason that 2.3 million Toyota vehicles were recalled in early January. The January recall was caused by a defect in the gas pedal design that causes friction and sticking, hindering the driver’s ability to relieve acceleration. The October 2009 recall of more than 3.8 million Toyota vehicles was also related to sudden unintended acceleration, however the cause was improperly placed floor mats.
The Prius is the ninth Toyota model to experience reported issues, however the model was not a part of the January recall. The Prius, though, was included in the October recall, as models manufactured between 2004 and 2009 were recalled for floor mat issues. That recall had nothing to do with brake failure.
Toyota is currently investigating the brake and sudden unintended acceleration issues, as well as a claim by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood during a congressional hearing that he has received complaints about Toyota electronics. Toyota denies any electronics malfunctions in the automobiles, however LaHood said his office will continue to investigate these claims.
LaHood’s congressional testimony also included a warning to consumers driving any Toyotas affected by the recall. The Transportation Secretary urged drivers to park their Toyotas and not drive them until they have been examined and repaired at manufacturer dealerships. But LaHood later amended his statement, explaining that he doesn’t expect people to simply stop driving, but that Toyota owners need to be very careful when driving.
Toyota representatives will meet with two different congressional committes this month as investigations continue.
If you or a loved one owns one of the affected Toyota models and have experienced problems with sudden unintended acceleration or stuck accelerators, contact Newsome Law Firm and fill out a case evaluation form today. Our team of attorneys has experience specific to complications associated with automobile recalls. Not only can they give you the legal guidance you need, they can help you get the compensation you deserve.