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Toyota Gets More Bad News: Allstate Insurance Files Suit Over Sudden Acceleration

Posted in auto industry, Car Buying, General, Legal, Newsworthy, Recalls, Safety, Toyota by Kurt Ernst | October 7th, 2010 | 3 Responses |

Toyota Prius

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.

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3 Responses

  1. Jim says:

    You know why the NHTSA and Toyota haven’t found a problem? Because there isn’t one, the people driving are idiots. I have a prius and it is VERY different to drive. I could definitely see this confusing some people’s little brains. They should stick to something simple like a bicycle. Sorry but it pisses me off when idiots like this try and destroy Toyota’s reputation that they obviously tried hard to build.

  2. Kurt says:

    Jim, you’re preaching to the choir here. If you want to see what the net result of the “unintended acceleration” debacle will be, go drive a 2011 GM product (excluding sports or muscle cars) with an automatic transmission. The brake pedal is several inches above the gas pedal, which requires an uncomfortable stretch of the ankle to reach. It’ll keep the lowest common denominator from confusing the brake with the gas, but it will also increase braking time (and distance) for those of us who know how to drive.

    The new reality is this: you have to build product for the least competent consumer to minimize the threat of litigation.

  3. Jim says:

    That’s exactly the reason, as with everything else (laws, prices, etc). Everything is built to the lowest common denominator, which is frustration because so much progress could be made. But can’t progress anything slower than a snails pace because it might confuse people. *sigh* Again, why I think domestic cars have a bad reputation, because the typical domestic buyer is a do it yourselfer (good) with limited knowledge about there car (know enough to fuck shit up). They work on their car and don’t do a good job then everyone associates domestic cars as crap because people that work on them don’t really know what they are doing. Good work on the motorcycle articles.

    -Commute in a prius and tear up the roads in a mind bending motorcycle.