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Federal safety regulators are investigating new unintended acceleration claims, this time involving Toyota Corolla vehicles.
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is examining 163 complaints from drivers of the small car to determine if there is an issue that warrants the opening of a formal safety investigation.
Agency officials said they are responding to a petition for an investigation from Kathy Ruginis of Bristol, Rhode Island, who claimed that her Toyota Corolla surged forward and crashed into another vehicle even as she braked.
Safety Research & Strategies, Inc., a consulting firm that often prepared expert testimony in auto defect cases, said that the information from the Corolla’s event data recorder backs up the woman’s claim.
The NHTSA is looking into whether there is a sudden acceleration issue in as many as 1.7 million Corollas from the 2006 through 2010 model years. Toyota has said it will cooperate fully with any inquiry.
Toyota’s Unintended Acceleration Recalls
These problems are not new for Toyota. The Japanese automaker recalled millions of vehicles to replace floor mats and fix a mechanical problem that caused gas pedals to get stuck on their own.
A fault floor mat is also believed to have caused a horrific 2009 crash outside San Diego that claimed the lives of an off-duty CHP officer and his family. In that case, the floor mats jammed the gas pedal.
Earlier this year, Toyota admitted to deceiving regulators and consumers about two defects linked to sudden acceleration issues and agreed to pay $1.2 billion, the larges penalty ever imposed on a car manufacturer.
This deal marked the culmination of a four-year criminal investigation into whether Toyota reported safety complaints about sudden acceleration in a timely manner.
It is critical that owners of vehicles involved in this investigation take them to a dealer or mechanic for a thorough inspection. We also hope Toyota will do the right thing this time and issue a prompt recall if these vehicles are in fact dangerous and defective.
If you have been injured in an accident caused by sudden or unintended acceleration, it is important that you contact an experienced auto product liability attorney who has the resources to investigate potential defects.
The best auto defect law firms will always offer a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation to injured victims and their families.