The national news media is inundating consumers with information regarding Toyota's recall on various models due to possible malfunctions concerning accelerations. This morning another recall was announced on the Toyota Prius for brake problems. It seems we can't hear any news this week without the constant fear-mongering regarding Toyota and it's faulty vehicles.
Are Toyota's really unsafe? Should you park your Toyota and refuse to drive it? Should you sell it immediately?
No, No, and No!
Terence Corcoran with the National Post provides some logical consideration in what has become a media smear-campaign of fear, backed by absolutely no data.
"At this stage, there is little hard data on whether Toyota actually has a sudden acceleration problem. The company is not helping matters with its apparent scrambling to come up with an explanation and a "fix" for a phenomenon that has been cropping up in auto industry lore for decades. No maker is immune, but Toyota is seems to have been caught in the latest run of reports. All of the reports are anecdotal accounts of out-of-control vehicles for reasons that nobody can ever adequately explain. The latest stories, including one of a Tennessee man who says his 2003 Camry suddenly jolted into a parking space, become instant media legends.
Of the millions of cars on the road, only a few hundred anecdotal reports exist, making it far more likely that other things are happening, including driver mistakes and even fluke occurrences that no amount of corporate fixing can avoid. Usually the stories fade and the auto companies move on, although Audi famously became victim of a SUA craze a couple of decades ago, losing massive market share even though no problem was ever identified beyond driver error."
Can you think of anyone who's Toyota has accelerated despite their foot not being on the gas pedal? Some may have such a story. However, despite the recount of events of such a claim, it is difficult to determine exactly what caused the malfunction. Investigations into what causes accidents from uncontrolled acceleration is difficult to determine, with conclusions difficult to obtain.
Jeremy Pardew is the store manager of Rainforest Car Wash in Hattiesburg. I asked Jeremy if there had been any reports or warnings throughout the car wash community regarding Toyota's acceleration problems. He stated that he had not heard of one single incident. However, he did relay a recent story regarding a Jeep Cherokee fatality in New Mexico.
Rainforest Car Wash is a member of the International Car Wash Association. The ICA monitors accidents and vehicle damage that occur at car washes throughout the United States. You can see their recent list of vehicle alerts by clicking here. For example, it has long been known that various models of the Jeep Cherokee have led to accidents at commercial car washes due to acceleration problems once the vehicle is placed in Drive. Within the Car Wash Industry they refer to it as the 'lurching' issue. In fact, just this week a car wash employee in Albuquerque New Mexico was killed by a Jeep Cherokee that could not be stopped by the driver. It is not disclosed at this time what caused the accident. However, I have personally witnessed a Jeep Cherokee, out of control, that could not be stopped by a car wash employee and ended up in the ditch next to Hardy St. The Jeep was moving forward and the brake lights were lit up the whole time. To learn more about the history of the 'lurching' issue with Jeep Cherokees click here.
My point is that there has been no data released by any Federal Agency, of which I am aware, that compares specific complaints from Toyota owners to complaints from other vehicle manufacturers regarding the same issue. Hence, it is unclear at this time if Toyota's are any more dangerous to drive (and own) than another brand vehicle.
I have yet to see or read anything that makes me believe a Toyota is more dangerous than any other vehicle. What say you?