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Deadly Car Crash is Reminder of Product Liability Issues for Toyota

A deadly automobile accident involving a 2008 Toyota Camry has raised questions over Toyota’s system for repairing vehicles that have been the subject of recalls. The Toyota Camry that was involved in the accident was subject to three recalls and it is not clear what the cause of the accident was.

On November 5, a 2008 Toyota Camry smashed into a rock wall as the car exited Interstate 80 near the Utah — Nevada border. According to police, skid marks show the 66-year-old driver tried to stop the vehicle as it exited the interstate. The car ran through a regulated intersection at the end of the exit ramp. The driver and his son’s fiancée died from the accident. The driver’s wife and his son were injured but survived.

The crash brings up concerns about Toyota’s recall repair system. Customers of Toyota have made complaints about safety issues even after their cars have been fixed according to safety advocates. The Camry that crashed in the accident was subject to three recalls by Toyota. The first two recalls involved floor mats that caused gas pedals to stick. The third recall involved sticky gas pedals that did not easily return to idle position. The 66-year-old driver is believed to have complied with the third recall but it is not clear if he complied with the previous two.

Based on the accounts of the surviving passengers and witnesses, investigators believe the accelerator was stuck. The brakes of the car were found to be in working order. A spokesman for Toyota did not have information on whether the driver took his vehicle in for any recall repairs. The Utah Highway Patrol and federal transportation investigators have not completed their respective reviews of the crash.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Toyota Gas Pedal Safety Back in Spotlight After Two Die in Camry Crash in Western Utah,” Brock Vergakis and Ken Thomas, 11/15/10

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