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Toyota sudden acceleration incidents now linked to 34 fatalities; State Farm knew in 2007

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced on February 16 that it is now investigating a total of 26 accidents, resulting in 34 fatalities, arguably caused by Toyota's problems with sudden acceleration.   5.2 million vehicles have now been recalled.  The manufacturer reports that it is "fixing" 50,000 vehicles per day, although questions still remain about whether the vehicles' software is a contributing problem.  As long ago as 2007, the giant insurer State Farm observed an unusual number of sudden-acceleration claims involving the vehicles:  chances are they upped the underwriting on insurance, but nothing of significance to consumers was accomplished.

The Agency had fielded 124 consumer complaints regarding brake failure in the Prius, prior to its recent investigation of that problem:  another 1,000 complaints have been filed since. 

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