February 26, 2010
Safety Research & Strategies letter to Administrator Strickland asks why Toyota it wasn’t recalling its accessory sport pedals. The automaker has identified these aftermarket accessories, which it sells and installs through Toyota dealers, as contributors to unintended acceleration.
Toyota made this startling admission in denying a claim by Michael Teston, an unfortunate Toyota customer from Maaumelle, Arkansas.
On December 13, Teston was driving his 2006 4-Runner into a small town with the cruise control on. He had disengaged the cruise control and the vehicle began to slow, with his foot on the brake as he approached a parking lot for a convenience store. He turned into parking lot at approximately15 mph, still coasting with his foot on brake. As his speed dropped to about 3 mph, Teston heard the ABS brakes activate, followed by clicking sound when the engine raced to full-throttle. The vehicle surged forward, hit a pole about three feet in front of him. There the vehicle came to rest, with the rear of the vehicle hopping as the rear tires continued to spin. Teston placed the vehicle into Park and the engine maintained wide-open-throttle until the ignition was turned off.
Teston’s 4-Runner was fitted with OE carpeted floor mats, secured in place. North Point Toyota, in North Little Rock, inspected the vehicle over a three-week period, but found nothing wrong with the vehicle. A Toyota Technical Specialist also took a look on January 4, and here was the result: there were “no codes stored in the computer to indicate any product concern or failure.” However, “Our Technical Specialist noted that aftermarket pedal covers were installed on the brake and accelerator pedals that increased the length of the pedals, which could have contributed to the accident described.”
Gee, Teston purchased the “aftermarket pedal covers” from a Toyota dealer as a Toyota accessory and these parts were installed by that same Toyota dealer.
Since Toyota said that the increased the length of the pedals could have contributed to the crash, seems like Toyota has a duty to recall these parts too.