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Toyota Recalls Millions of Automobiles Amid Safety Concerns: Did the Car Company Put You and Your Family's Lives At Risk?

Toyota, once a brand with a sterling reputation for trust, safety and reliability, now faces a growing number of questions over the quality of its products as it initiates massive recalls affecting millions of consumers. Nine million vehicles have been recalled, deaths have been reported and new problems are emerging.

Toyota already is facing potential class action lawsuits on behalf of consumers who purchased vehicles subject to recalls.

Is your Toyota part of the recall? Now is the time to find out about your legal rights. A delay could jeopardize a potential case, so take action quickly.

First Recall: Pedal Trapped by Floor Mat

In October 2009, Toyota announced the recall of 3.8 million automobiles because the floor mat was responsible for ''accelerator pedal entrapment.'' This means that the gas pedal can become trapped during acceleration in the fully open position by an out-of-position or unsecured floor mat. This could occur during attempts to merge onto a highway or pass another vehicle at highway speeds. Recently, Toyota expanded the recall to include another 1 million vehicles.

Toyota, Lexus and Pontiac vehicles affected by the entrapment recall are:

  • 2007-2010 Camry
  • 2005-2010 Avalon
  • 2004-2009 Prius
  • 2005-2010 Tacoma
  • 2007-2010 Tundra
  • 2007-2010 ES 350
  • 2006-2010 IS 250 and IS350
  • 2008-2010 Highlander
  • 2009-2010 Corolla
  • 2009-2010 Venza
  • 2009-2010 Matrix
  • 2009-2010 Pontiac Vibe

Owners can have their accelerator pedals reconfigured by dealers as a temporary remedy. Toyota also will install a brake override system on certain models. Meanwhile, Toyota is developing replacement pedals for these vehicles, which will become available for some models in April 2010.

Until you have received the remedy, it's crucial that you take out all floor mats on the driver's side to ensure safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has confirmed that five people in two separate incidents have died as a result of pedal entrapment in the recalled automobiles. The agency warns that failure to remove floor mats could lead to additional deaths.

A crash in San Diego in August 2009 that killed four people riding in a Lexus ES 350 appears to be the impetus for the recall.

Some of the most popular cars on the road have defects that put you and your family at risk: Act now to learn about your rights.

Second recall: Faulty Gas Pedals

In a problem unrelated to the accelerator entrapment recall, deaths have been linked to faulty gas pedals in some Toyota models. The sticky-accelerator problem resulted in the unprecedented decision in January 2010 by Toyota to suspend sales of eight of its most popular vehicles and shut down five North American assembly plants. Congress has hearings planned on the recalls.

Toyota recalled 2.3 million vehicles (the eight models it stopped making). Some of the recalls were to fix the gas pedals, while others were to replace floor mats that could jam the pedals. The problem causes the accelerator to be harder to depress, slower to return or in some cases get stuck in some partially depressed position.

Toyota has announced a remedy repair that will be available right away.

The accelerator pedal recall includes the following models:

  • 2009-2010 RAV4,
  • 2009-2010 Corolla,
  • 2009-2010 Matrix,
  • 2005-2010 Avalon,
  • 2007-2010 Camry,
  • 2010 Highlander,
  • 2007-2010 Tundra,
  • 2008-2010 Sequoia

The 2009-2010 Pontiac Vibe, which is no longer in production but was built by Toyota, is part of the recall.

Scientists suspect a software glitch within the Toyota electronics system is to blame, or that the car's computer is susceptible to electromagnetic waves.

You should be aware that Toyota has admitted it sacrificed quality for global growth. A Toyota spokesman told The Washington Post: ''...Executives have said that part of the troubles we are having today have been because of speedy moves in the past.''

Toyota's president apologized for the company's growing recall crisis.

Toyota sacrificed quality and put lives at risk, but you have your legal rights. Not taking action now might affect how Toyota owners are held responsible in accidents.

Did Toyota Hide Information That Could Have Saved Lives?

Toyota has been slow to communicate the extent of the problem in its cars and trucks - and families of four people killed in an accident say quicker action could have prevented the tragedy.

The day after Christmas, a 2008 Avalon carrying four people left the road, crashed through a fence and landed upside-down in a pond outside of Dallas, Texas. Linda Hardy, the widow of the driver, says she complained three separate times to her dealership about the car racing out of control. Mrs. Hardy said she told the dealer, ''Please fix my car,'' but was told there was no problem, according to ABC News.

Toyota admits it knew of the gas-pedal problem in October, but did not say anything publicly until a month after the accident.

''Money can't bring back my husband,'' Mrs. Hardy told ABC News. ''I want Toyota to take care of these problems so no one else will die.''

Toyota was slow to act and lives have been lost. Don't delay: Act now to ensure your rights are protected.

Prius Owners Face Safety Risk Over Braking Problem

On the heels of this recall, the (NHTSA) announced plans for an investigation into the braking problems of the 2010 Prius hybrid. Toyota said there were problems with the car's anti-lock braking system, opening up the possibility of recall.

Prius owners have reported a momentary loss of braking capability while traveling over an uneven road surface, a pothole or bump, according to the NHTSA. The Office of Defects Investigation has received at least 124 reports from consumers, including four reports involving crashes.

NHTSA has previously investigated defects in the Prius. In 2009, NHTSA looked into reports about headlights going dark while the car was in operation. However, officials did not classify the problems as a safety defect because only one light would go out at a time. In 2005, Toyota had to reprogram 75,000 cars after there were reports of Prius engines stalling.

An investigation into the safety of your car is a troubling development. Find out what your options are today.

Steps You Can Take if You Can't Stop Your Vehicle

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers the following advice if your car is accelerating outside of your control, regardless of the cause:

  • Brake firmly and steadily - do not pump the brake pedal
  • Shift the transmission into neutral
  • Steer to a safe location
  • Shut the engine off (for vehicles with keyless ignition, familiarize yourself with how to turn the vehicle off when it is moving - this may be a different action than turning the vehicle off when it is stationary).
  • Call your dealer or repair shop to pick up the vehicle. Do not drive it.

New information is emerging about problems with Toyota vehicles. Responding promptly may give you greater opportunity to pursue your legal options.

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