Tagged Articles

safety recall 74 articles

Minnesota man freed from prison in Camry sudden acceleration case

A Minnesota judge has freed Loua Fong Lee, a Southeast Asian immigrant and father of four who was convicted in 2007 of criminal vehicular homicide after his 1996 Toyota Camry sped out of control and crashed into another vehicle, killing three people. Ramsey County District Court Judge Joanne Smith ordered Lee free from prison on Thursday pending a new trial. Ramsey County Prosecutor Susan Gaertner, however, immediately announced she would drop the charges against Lee. “Mr. Lee will be a free man,” Gaertner said in a written statement. Lee, 32, has steadfastly maintained his innocence all along, saying that his Camry ... Read More

Toyota sudden acceleration defect may exonerate imprisoned man

If ever there were a case for the “never should have happened” file, it would be the story of Koua Fong Lee, who immigrated to the United States from his Hmong tribe in Southeast Asia shortly before he lost of control of his 1996 Camry and caused a devastating crash in Minnesota. On June 10, 2006, Lee was traveling along Interstate 94 in St. Paul on his way home from church. In the car with him were his expectant wife, 4-year-old daughter, brother and father. Just before exiting, Lee’s Camry accelerated drastically to speeds of 70-90 miles per hour, ultimately ... Read More

Toyota says it is recalling 600,000 Sienna Minivans to fix rust defect

In what is starting to sound like a recall du jour, Toyota has announced that it will recall about 600,000 Sienna minivans sold in the United States over concerns the spare tires, held in place by cables that are prone to rust, may separate from the vehicle. The Sienna recall will include model-year 1998-2010 Siennas with two-wheel drive sold in 20 northern states and Washington D.C. According to Toyota, the cables holding the spare tires in place are prone to corrosion and rust after repeated exposure to the road salts used to melt snow on roads in the northern states. ... Read More

NHTSA says Toyota’s violations amount to $13.8 billion, may face second fine

Why did the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration slap Toyota with the maximum allowable civil penalty of $16.375 million for its failure to promptly notify the federal agency of a potential safety defect in 2.3 million cars? Was this fine, by far the largest ever imposed by the NHTSA against a car maker,  justified? According to NHTSA, if it weren’t for the $16-million-plus statutory cap, which was enacted in 2006, Toyota would have owed the federal government $13.8 billion for its failure to comply with U.S. regulations. That’s because under federal law, car manufacturers should be fined $6000 per violation. ... Read More

Kuuma grills recalled after 3 reports of leaking fuel and burn injuries

The U.S. Consumer product Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of about 4,600 portable grills manufactured by Eastwind Industries of San Leandro, California under the name Kuuma because of a defect that poses a fire hazard. Sold exclusively at West Marine stores, the Kuuma IR Stow and Go barbecue grills can be used easily onboard a boat because of their relatively small size and portability. The CPSC says that if the propane tank isn’t threaded completely to the grill, fuel can leak out and catch fire. Eastwind Industries has received three reports of fires caused by the defective grills, resulting ... Read More

Lexus GX460 flunks Consumer Reports safety test, Toyota suspends sales

After finding serious flaws in the electronic stability controls (ESC) and performance of the 2010 Lexus GX 460 SUV, Consumer Reports is “urging consumers not to buy” the vehicle until parent company Toyota finds a fix. In response, Toyota has suspended sales of the vehicle nationwide until it can determine what is wrong with them and how they may be repaired. Consumer Reports’ team of engineers discovered the problem while conducting routine emergency handling tests. In one of the tests called “lift-off oversteer,” in which the driver abruptly removes his foot from the accelerator pedal in a sweeping turn, the ... Read More

AP investigation finds Toyota uses dishonest legal defense tactics

An Associated Press investigation has uncovered numerous examples that Toyota has relied on highly evasive, deceptive, and unethical legal tactics when defending itself against a spectrum of claims in court. The AP investigation involved an examination of lawsuits filed against Toyota throughout in the country in the past decade. The AP reviewed dozens of lawsuits that involve a range of allegations. The records show that in addition to sudden acceleration claims, Toyota has been sued for vehicle rollovers and poor roof strength, defective air bags, faulty transmissions, and braking problems. Many of the verdicts that favored Toyota in the past ... Read More

State Farm seeks repayment from Toyota for sudden acceleration claims

State Farm Insurance, the nation’s largest auto insurer, is asking Toyota for reimbursement on a number of claims it paid for crashes involving unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles. Called “subrogation” in the insurance industry, the repayments could amount to as much as $30 million, according to legal estimates. Since 2007, State Farm has alerted federal safety regulators numerous times about a rise in the number of sudden acceleration reports involving Toyota vehicles. The insurer based its warnings on information culled from its massive 40-million-customer database and submitted its findings to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration more than a year before ... Read More

Toyota investigates new sudden acceleration crash in Wisconsin

Toyota has launched an investigation into a new report of sudden unintended acceleration involving a 2009 Camry. The car’s driver, Myrna Marseilles, 76, of Wisconsin, said that she was parking her car at the YMCA in Sheboygan Falls, Wis. when the car suddenly accelerated forward and crashed into a wall. Marseilles told authorities that she had her foot on the brake when the car shot forward. She claimed to have a witness that her brake lights were on at the time of the accident. Although the Camry collided with a wall, her car’s air bags did not deploy and Marseilles was taken ... Read More

NHTSA calls on NASA rocket scientists to study Toyota’s electronics

Sure, many Toyota drivers have found themselves behind the wheel of a vehicle that suddenly and unexpectedly takes off like a rocket, but who could have predicted federal safety regulators would turn to NASA rocket scientists to help find the cause? Today the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced it is enlisting some of the nation’s top space and aeronautics experts to examine Toyota’s electronic throttle controls for signs they are causing some vehicles to accelerate uncontrollably, often at violent speeds. Although Toyota continually insists that its acceleration problems aren’t linked to the electronic controls, many industry experts and engineers ... Read More