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The latest on Toyota's fall from grace: unintended acceleration and unsafe cars.

Toyota has now recalled 9 million vehicles on several continents and stopped production and sale of its best-selling cars, after admitting that it has a problem with uncontrolled acceleration.  The man who supervised its defense of these claims for years has sued the company in Texas, claiming that it "conspired and continue[s] to conspire to unlawfully withold evidence from plaintiffs" in rollover accident litigation.  Just last fall, Toyota was arguing that it had no evidence of a vehicle defect in these 8 models, despite receiving more than 2,000 complaints of unintended acceleration.  Then it admitted that the events were occurring, but blamed them on loose floor mats. Now it acknowledges that there is a defect in the accelerator mechanism and its CEO has apologized for the Company's inadequate safety response. 

Critics maintain that Toyota still has not addressed the true, underlying problem, which they believe to be in the electronic controls of the accelerator, rather than in the mechanical mechanism Toyota is currently blaming.  And our NHTSA--which has acquiesced to Toyota's excuses for the past eight years--simply argues that it doesn't have the resources to investigate the true cause of the occurrences.  It does note that it forced the reluctant auto maker to discontinue sales and production until the problem is addressed. 

And by the way, this problem appears to have caused a significant number of deaths and serious injuries, including the 2009 death of an off-duty California Highway Patrolman and his family of four, after the panicked patrolman phoned that he could not control the "stuck" accelerator on his Lexus on Highway 125 near San Diego.

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