Toyota is working hard to reclaim the reputation for safety and customer service they used to enjoy. To date, they’ve repaired over five million vehicles affected by the floor mat and accelerator pedal recall, and they’ve reviewed over 4,000 claims of unintended acceleration without finding a cause aside from operator error. Even the NHTSA hasn’t been able to find a “ghost in the machine” that would cause unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles, although results of testing by NASA have not yet been released.
It’s not all good news for the Japanese automaker, as Allstate Insurance has just filed a $3 million lawsuit against Toyota. Allstate is seeking to recover losses from 270 claims filed for unintended acceleration, and cites “defective electronics” despite having no evidence to substantiate this. Allstate also alleges that Toyota should have installed brake override systems that cut off fuel when the brakes are applied with reasonable force and the throttle is in an open position. Toyota has added this feature, called “Smart Stop”, to all new cars in production and estimates that over 80% of vehicles currently on Toyota or Lexus dealer lots are so equipped.
Autoblog reports that claims of unintended acceleration have fallen by 80% since April of this year. A similar phenomenon happened with Audi and claims of unintended acceleration on their 5000; as soon as the media coverage went away, the claims did, too.