When Toyota staffer James Lentz went before a Congressional oversight panel Feb. 23, the public got some new information on what’s really going on with the massive Toyota recall involving million of vehicles that has led to halted sales of some new models.
Specifically, it was the first time, according to industry reports, that a Toyota employee went on record as saying that the sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles could have come from an electronic issue.
Toyota has previously said that floor mats and sticky gas pedals are behind faulty acceleration in their vehicles. The most recent recall information still cites these issues as the main factors behind the recall. However, new reports and new research are increasingly pointing to other potential causes of the sudden acceleration problem.
Toyota critics have said that electronic throttle systems or other electronic systems could be behind the safety problem. Though Toyota has denied this, Lentz said in comments before the congressional committee that the company has not completely ruled out these kinds of factors.
Lentz even went a step further, saying sudden acceleration could have “many causes,” and listed a few other potential factors: transmission software problems, faulty cruise control and air conditioning system glitches.
While this admission of complexity came as a relief to some who had been evaluating the electronic aspect of the problem, it does not bode well for a company that had staunchly refused to consider the full range of issues in its previous statements. In his testimony, Lentz blamed “poor communications” for problems he admitted went unresolved for years. It makes sense that a side step of such a critical safety issue would lead to the current market-wide recall and even more scrutiny for the Japanese automaker.
What is Toyota offering to help deal with the sudden acceleration problem? According to top staffers, the company is designing brakes that will override the throttle, enabling the vehicle to stop if sudden acceleration occurs. However, Toyota has not addressed when and how that fix will come to Toyota owners. Toyota advises owners of there cars to wait for letters from the company about when they can visit local dealerships to get fixes.
Even if Toyota manages to build the right structural solutions for this recall, the fix is a little more difficult than just repairing millions of Toyotas. First, the company will have to replace its current recall information with a clear, consistent determination of what is really causing its vehicles to speed up on their own, and though the final verdict is still out, many auto experts seem to think it is unlikely that when the dust clears, we’ll still be talking about floor mats.
Toyota recall lawyer James Cunningham has 30 years of experience in successfully representing those injured in automobile accidents. If you suffered injuries in an accident due to sudden acceleration Toyota recalls, feel free to contact his office. He can answer any questions you have about the legal options available to you under the law. You can reach the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham toll free at 888-425-2004 or locally at 407-425-2000.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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