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Electronic Throttle Control Systems in
Toyota Consumer Complaints to NHTSA


Throttle body.

Electronic Throttle Control Systems in Toyota Consumer Complaints to NHTSA
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In the fall of 2008, Quality Control Systems Corp. analyzed data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA's) Early Warning Reporting system through the first quarter of 2008. Our analysis showed that injuries allegedly related to vehicle speed control failures in the 2007 Lexus ES 350 had risen to first place in our rankings of unusual patterns of claims.

In fourth place on the list was the twin vehicle to the Lexus ES 350, the 2007 Toyota Camry. The Camry claims were also related to vehicle speed control. Our analysis was published on October 24, 2008 by the Vehicle Safety Information Resource Center.

Ten months after our early warning rankings were published, on August 28, 2009, a widely publicized crash related to speed control failure in a 2009 Lexus ES 350 killed a family of four in Santee, California.

This crash has been followed by recalls, amended recalls, a sales suspension, and even a temporary production halt by Toyota of some of its makes and models over the issue of sudden unintended acceleration.

We have now tested Toyota's well-publicized conclusion that there is "no indication" of a throttle or electronic control system malfunction in some of its recently recalled vehicles as an hypothesis using data taken from consumer complaints made to NHTSA. This conclusion was tested on the basis of consumer complaints about specific vehicles known to be equipped with electronic throttle control systems compared to similar model vehicles without these systems.

Based on these data, we believe there is evidence both to question and to reject this hypothesis for the recalled vehicles in our study. The models we studied included the Toyota Camry, the Toyota Tacoma, and the Lexus ES 300 series.

Click here to obtain the technical report describing this study from Safety Research & Strategies.

Rankings of early warning reporting data can help to detect potential motor vehicle safety defects, as we believe it did in this case. Even so, preventing injuries, deaths, and adverse commercial impacts requires a willingness to act on these warnings. And a willingness to act on scientific facts.

Continuing reports of Toyota and Lexus Consumer Complaints of Post-repair Speed Control Failures are accessible here.

To contact us about this issue, please to send us an email.

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