Toyota Unintended Acceleration Complaints Update

We have completed our latest review of the Toyota unintended acceleration complaint data.  Following are the sources of these complaints:

•Consumer complaints to NHTSA through February 25, 2010;

•Toyota-submitted claims to NHTSA investigations into SUA;

•Incidents reported by media organizations;

•Consumer contacts made to our firm and other firms who are reporting incidents that they have received through March 2, 2010. (Note:  Most of these complaints are also part of the NHTSA complaint data as we have encouraged owner’s to report their problem to the agency.  Duplicates have been removed.)

Our data consists only of incidents reported from 1999 to the present (regardless of model year). 

We have defined unintended acceleration as any incident in which the complainant reported an engine acceleration that was unintended – regardless of whether the car was in gear. We understand that this is a broader inclusion than others have considered; however, because we are still at a stage of trying to understand the incidents we believe this inclusiveness will help us discern vehicle years / models and incident types that we may want to investigate further.

We have reviewed all Prius complaints and excluded from our analysis those that are related to the Prius braking issues. In many cases it is very clear that the complaints relate to the known braking defect. In some cases that describe the sensation when braking as “unintended acceleration,” we exercised our best judgment about the nature of the defect. Overall, if the complainant described a frequent, repeatable, and brief unintended acceleration, particularly in conjunction with braking and/or rough road surfaces, we excluded the record from this analysis. That process resulted in the exclusion of 585 Prius complaints.

We have identified 3306 total unintended acceleration incidents involving Toyota vehicles reported from 1999 to the present. These incidents have resulted in 1159 crashes (just over 35 percent of all incidents), 469 injuries, and 39 deaths. [Note: Our fatalities count is relatively conservative, and we have not included fatalities reported as speculation. To see the fatalities we have included, visit our interactive map.

Note that the incidents we are reporting only represent those that are in the public realm. According to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, in response to the Committee’s January 28, 2010, request for Toyota internal documents, Toyota produced a representative sample from a larger set of claims. The Committee noted that 37,900 customer contact reports were identified by the company as “potentially related to sudden unintended acceleration.”