Toyota Runaway Vehicles

November 3, 2009  8:54 a.m.

Toyota one of the leaders of the car industry in the US is ignoring calls for investigating the problem that their cars suddenly take off and accelerate up to 120 miles per hour.  The driver has no control of the car and cannot stop the car which has caused deaths in some cases.

On August 28 Mark Saylor the California Highway Patrol cop in San Diego tried to stop his Toyota  Lexus ES 350 with his wife, daughter and his brother in law on board while his 272 horsepower car drove them to their deaths.   They screamed in horror and said “ were in trouble   there’s no brakes” as he hit another vehicle slammed into an embankment and died along with all the other passengers.

These deaths add to the 5 other fatal crashes over two years in Toyota cars, which suddenly speed up and cause the vehicle to be out of control at high speeds.  Elizabeth James experienced the same horrific problem when she tried to stop her Toyota Prius model in Denver Colorado. Elizabeth had her foot on the brake and not the gas petal and her experience was not driver error.

The 2009 Lexus ES one of the luxury Toyota models has a complex electronic computer system which may be the cause of the problem.  The Toyota corporation seems to blame this fault on the car’s floor mats which can cover the accelerator pedal.  If not the floor mats Toyota is blaming driver error rather than recalling their defective cars. Toyota has recalled its floor mat parts and assembly but not the electronic system which is more likely costly to replace or repair.

Similar to the Firestone tire defects of a few years ago Toyota is ignoring the recall to its own detriment and causing Toyota cars to become branded as dangerous and runaway vehicles defective due to the electronic components which affect the transmission.

Other vehicle systems such as the transmission and braking system and throttle are said to make it difficult even for the best driver to stop a car that suddenly accelerates to 120 miles per hour. Some car designers indicate that the ignition, transmission and braking systems may prohibit the driver from escaping and recovering from a runaway Toyota.
Other theories are that the Toyota vehicles have an electro-magnet problem in the vehicle’s computer system. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA have not found any problems yet.

Yet another driver Mr. Bulent Ezal also from California was thrown in his back seat when his car drove him off a 100 foot cliff which killed his wife but he survived the crash.  Ezal heard his wife’s screams before her death as his car drove him off a cliff to which Toyota’s response was he had his foot on the gas petal.  Now what driver would put his foot on the gas petal near a cliff in California to cause the vehicle to drive him and his wife to their deaths?

Car experts say not to tap the brakes if your car is a Toyota with this defect here are some tips:

1) Do not tap on the brakes -hit them hard.
2) Do not shut off the engine for this cuts off your steering and other controls.
3) Put the car in neutral.
4) Put the emergency brake on to stop the car.
5) Pray and pray hard.

Where are the government agencies are why are they allowing these defective cars to continue killing consumers?  Why are they allowing Toyota to get away with not recalling their defective vehicles which are obviously not a floor mat problem?  Toyota vehicles lack a safety control system in the computerized engine which are either unknown to Toyota or are being ignored in favor of profit.  Toyota must look hard at its choices here or face the wrath of consumer lawsuits and negative brand confidence.

The best scenario is for the federal authorities to make it a law to all automakers including Toyota that all vehicles will and must have an emergency cut off to be installed on all cars.

All these drivers need is the insurance company’s to deny claims because the car was over the speed limit.  More disastrous with runaway cars to come and not due to driver error.

More consumers are rebelling against Toyota’s denials of defects as ABC will do an expose on the over 16 deaths and 200 accidents due to the defects in Toyota cars. If Toyota wants to be number 1 in the car industry they must obey the laws of the US just like all the other car manufacturers have and admit their mistakes.

More importantly Toyota must fix their problems instead of blaming consumers for their own deaths.  Recalling Toyota cars for the wrong reason namely floor mats ignores this nightmare of runaway Toyota cars.  Toyota offered their condolences to the dead drivers and recalled 3.8 million cars for floor mats only.

This is a promo video on the Toyota designs but no mention of safety features.

TAGS: Toyota runaway cars, Toyota Car Owners, San Diego Toyota deaths, Death of Policeman in Lexus, Lexus Cars, Toyota Lexus Cars, Toyota emergency, Toyota Camry, Toyota Corporation, Toyota safety issues, Toyota runaway Lexus, Lexus 350, National Highway Safety Administration, car safety, unsafe imported cars.


39 thoughts on “Toyota Runaway Vehicles”

  1. Well, the fact of the matter is that we still don’t know if Toyota actually has an inherent problem yet. Look at that guy who claimed his Prius went bonkers a couple of weeks ago. It made the news everywhere. But now his story is crumbling and it looks like he made everything up. So don’t be quick to judge Toyota because they may not be at fault here. Like I said, the same exact thing happened to Audi back in the 80’s and nobody ever uncovered a shred of evidence that those cars were faulty. Now that may not be the case today with Toyota, but I do believe that these drivers who claim there was nothing they could do to stop their vehicles are either complete liars or they panicked so badly that they lost their ability to think clearly.

  2. Well….I was looking at buying a toyota but now I have no plans to, and now I need to convince my parents who have had 4 “safe for now” vehicles…I wont stand by and let Toyota kill my family…They need to fix the problem and start realizing that the very people who have made their billions are the very people that are buying their own coffin.

  3. We have heard enough of the ” driver error” discussions but the main reason Toyota is getting so much attention is that they have not found the defects in their vehicles. The fact is that they cannot blame the computer problems on the driver and the company itself sets out the specifications for parts built by their suppliers as does every car manufacturer. You may remember in the year 2000 Ford had massive problems with the Explorer and their specifications for the Firestone tires built for their vehicles to their specifications.

    Just as an example here are some comments from RAV4 owners who had transmission problems with their cars which turned out to be a EMC problem. When they took their vehicles to a Toyota dealership, they were told they needed new transmissions and in some cases new computers to the tune of $4,000.00 to $ 5,000.00. However in a “internal bulletin” released in 2006, it appears that Toyota knew about the EMC problem also yet did no recalls or repairs.

    In 2002 when the acceleration problem first occurred Toyota had just revised their vehicle electronic computers and this is where they should start looking for defects. We are still waiting for Toyota to tell us what changes they made to their on board computers, what specifications they gave to their suppliers, where the computers were made, and by whom and also what changes they made from the computers prior to 2002 and after 2002 for comparison. Then we can find the problems, only after acknowledgment from Toyota that there is a problem still inherent in their vehicles even after the recalls were completed.



  4. Safe? That’s an opinion that anyone if free to form for him- or herself. I’m just stating the facts…that’s all. On a personal level, I feel 100% safe in my own vehicle, which happens to be a Toyota. As far as I’m concerned, the jury is still out as far as this being a legitimate problem or driver error (or a combination of each). Audi went through a very similar ordeal in the 80’s and it almost put them out of business. But when it was all over, nobody ever uncovered a shread of evidence that there was a problem with the Audi vehicles. Keep that in mind when you think about this whole Toyota fiasco. The media hype is getting ridiculous now. And I just read a document that claimed Ford has had more unintended accleration complaints during the last 12 months than Toyota, so why isn’t the medial all over them as well? You really have to look at the big picture instead of jumping on the bandwagon.

  5. R.G. Bateman, most new cars (including Toyotas) do not rely on vacuum assist to aid in braking power. In fact, most of them don’t even have the brake booster behind the master cylinder reservoir any longer. That’s because these modern vehicles use an electrical pump to provide power braking assist. But even older cars that do rely on vacuum will still allow 4 or 5 solid pumps of the brakes before the brake booster is depleted of vacuum, so the driver will still have 100% power brake assist even under full throttle. That’s why they tell you NOT to pump the brakes under that type of circumstance. It is also important to note that power braking assist is great, but even without it, you still have 100% of your braking force…you just have to push the pedal harder than normal.

  6. This is for RD(November 15, 2009 at 8:24 pm)who insists that brakes will stop any speed. Most of the braking power
    is from Vacuum Assist. Vacuum is abundant upon deceleration, but not while accelerating, which is the problem (sudden unintended acceleration) SUA.
    No vacuum, no vacuum assist, no vacuum assisted brakes.

  7. This issue is not isolated to hybrids. In fact, the majority of affected Toyota vehicles are not hybrids. The discussion centers on unintended acceleration, which is obviously a completely different issue than braking. By the way, regenerative braking in no way causes a vehicle to accelerate. Regenerative braking provides battery charging in hybrid vehicles. As I said before, the braking system (even on a hybrid) is still a manual system that does not rely on a computer to operate. There is no way a computer malfunction could possible cause the braking system to accelerate any vehicle, including a hybrid vehicle. You should really read up on the way it works so that you have a better understanding of the system.

  8. It seems nobody here understands anything about regenerative braking that is used in hybrids. Again, a computer malfunction could actually cause the car to accelerate when hitting the brake pedal, not stop! Hitting the brake pedal does not necessarily equate to braking. At least Toyota is now doing something about all this, whatever the cause. Nuff said…

  9. Di B, Let me give you some insight into modern braking systems (I’m an ASE certified Master Auto Technician, by the way). First off all, what you say is partically true–there are electronic systems connected to today’s braking systems. However, the braking systems on ALL modern vehicles are still mechanically linked, meaning that there is no way any type of electrical failure would render to inoperable. Furthermore, braking systems are diagonally linked (left front/right rear and right front/left rear) circuits designed to maintain stopping power in the event of catastrophic failure of one of the two circuits. This has been the case since disc brakes became the big news over drum brakes (late 60’s & early 70’s). Anyway, the point is that even the most technologically advanced car today still relies on a mechanical system for braking. If a car had a complete electrical meltdown, the brakes would still work because they ARE actually a separate system. Even though things like ABS, traction control, brake force distribution wouldn’t work during an electrical meltdown, the basic brake hydraulic system would still cause the pads to clamp down on the rotors when the driver applies pressure to the brake pedal.

  10. Hello, well, having read most of the comments here, which have been written over a two moth period, I find that I have another tidbit to contribute:
    Some of you talk about the horsepower not being able to overpower the brakes. You are assuming that the brakes are working correctly. With all of the interaction between systems because of the computer controls, braking is no longer a separate system. When you push on the brake pedal, other systems turn on, turn off, or go into idle. Don’t forget our ABS systems and Stability Control, etc. Remember that when we hit the brakes and the computer “decides” that we need it, our brakes pump automatically. So our brakes are not always under our control, are they? What if the that computer “decides” to use the wrong action? And when we come to a stop, don’t our cars reduce the pull of the engine? (I don’t know how to explain it better than that) The command sets are complex. Of course, something can go wrong.

    Remember the runaway Audis several years ago? After that problem’s example, we shouldn’t have to go thru this 2+ year battle to prove there is a problem. A car is only a machine – any machine can have a problem. This burying heads in the sand attitude is so stupid!

  11. It is true that Toyota vehicles made in Japan are not affected by this recall. In fact, some Toyota vehicles are ONLY made in Japan and nowhere else. Take the 4Runner for example…it has never been made anywhere other than Japan. And of course the 4Runner is not part of the recall. Anyway, I’m glad Toyota is finally taking the right steps to correct the problem and restore confidence in their vehicles. I find it a bit ironic that it took them so long to come up with a corrective action, especially considering the highly publicsized stories of motorists who crashed because they didn’t think to hit the brakes and/or put the transmission into neutral. That’s the sad part of the story…

  12. Hey MR, thanks for your comments but Toyota is not the only car manufacturer that has had a recall, all of them have -even Mercedes Benz. No need to get upset about it because it is in the public safety’s interest and it had nothing to do with government. It seems we can blame all our problems on government but that is not going to fix the problem. You have to logically look at what your saying from the reverse stand point such as why would Toyota be exempt from a factory recall no matter how many people died accidentally? I rather doubt that only North American cars are at fault and you would have to prove that all the parts were made in North America which is not true.

    Let the chips fall where they may and hopefully there will not be further mechanical problems with Toyota cars -safety always comes first.

    Politicol News

  13. Doesn’t anyone else wonder about the timing of all of this, especially given the newest recalls? I work at a Toyota dealership and the floor mats and now the throttle recalls all hit the press a full day ahead of our service dept. hearing anything about it even possibly being recalled. Add that to the relatively low incident to cars on the road ratio and I’m going go out on a limb and say that since the Gov’t has such a huge stake in US car companies that maybe they want to hurt Toyota’s sales a bit. I would also like everyone to know that the newest issues are a wear issue and there are warning signs. You can feel the pedal getting stickier prior to having a runaway car. Out of 4 million cars under the throttle recall only 1.4 million have the faulty throttle and only a fraction of those are actually faulty. I would also like to point out to those pushing the US made cars that those 1.4 million have been identified by VINs and they came from only US plants. The Toyotas made in Japan are fine and if you ever want to purchase a Toyota made in Japan look at the VIN, if it starts with a J it’s Japan and anything else is US or Canada made.

  14. Your right JR, a little too late to be recalling this now when they could have done it what…a year ago? How long has this been going on with Toyota vehicles? I hope they get sued – huge!!

    P. Neisman
    Editor in Chief

  15. Toyota finally has realized they have a major, serious electrical computer problem. Only after 3 years and 16 deaths. I imagine the large $$ law suits are getting to their bottom line. Buy American!

  16. I think “Push button start” is a big issue. Majorly because it’s not usually able to stop the engine while the car is moving.

    Most people also don’t know how to use the emergency cut-off by holding the button 5 secs. I have tried this in my Camry and it DOES NOT lock the steering.

  17. Hello Critical Thinker:
    We check out all links posted on our board, due to the great amount of spam that posters try to use on other people’s blogs. However we checked the link and found it to be fine. Thanks for your valued comment.

    Politicol News
    P. Neisman

  18. Naegele is a modern-day Ralph Nader. The fact of the matter is that even if Toyota is building “flawed” vehicles (which can be debated to death), the drivers who crash are simply panicking. It has been proven that these so-called “runaway cars” can be stopped without drama. Think about it–not only would the engine have to stuck at wide open throttle, but the brakes would also have to fail completely, the transmission would have to be stuck in drive and not be capable of going into neutral, the e-brake (which is mechanical, by the way) would also have to fail completely. All of this would have to happen simultaneously in order for someone to crash one of these “flawed” cars. Sorry, but that’s not realistic. Read this Car and Driver article where the writers/testers intentionally rigged various cars to see if they could stop them under wide open throttle.

  19. I agree that no car can overpower its brakes. This has actually been prove. Car & Driver magazine recently tested a V6 Camry to see if the engine could overpower its brakes. And guess what? With the throttle stuck wide open and the car traveling at 70 MPH, it took the car 18 more feet in distance to stop than the same car travelling at 70 MPH without the throttle stuck open. So the fact of the matter is these claims against Toyota are completely false, just like the same thing that happened to Audi in the 80’s. People need to learn how to drive in a panic situation and stop blaming the vehicle.

  20. You are right Peter, they are flawed and a recall should be initiated until a solution is found at which point, they will be given the opportunity to rectify the problem. After decades of dominating the U.S. market, Toyota can surely absorb some loss, especially considering the shear horror one must face in a runaway vehicle. Also, just suggesting people buy American will not solve the problem either, as that is not a realistic solution, people ARE going to buy Toyotas but they don’t deserve to die doing so and believe me, there have been some real doozies from the U.S. manufacturers over the years as well.

  21. Were glad you guys decided to debate the laws of physics here but the whole point is fellas -the car is flawed – it has been responsible for killing people. No matter if it was the rug, the housing under the gas petal near the rug, over the rug, the computer chip, the computer itself, the electronics to or from the brake assembly to the computer on board – its a FLAWED CAR!
    Toyota needs and should be legislated to do a major recall, only idiots like Senator Shelby from Alabama would surely stop it -since his state and his pocket benefit from the “campaign” contributions. Here you have a dangerous product -and it is allowed to be sold in the USA. Sounds familiar? Look at the other products from China…..flawed. But we are enjoying the exchange between you two; please continue to sort this out for us.

    Peter N.

  22. RD, your theory about the physics of this is flawed! You are forgetting that the computer in these vehicles also controls the braking. If there is a system malfunction in the CPU, it, in theory, can affect the ability to brake under hard acceleration!!! Not “end of story”.

    OP post below:

    rd says:
    November 15, 2009 at 8:24 pm
    It may be possible to make a throttle stick, but here are the laws of physics:
    No car can overpower its brakes! From any speed. If your foot is on the brake pedal the car will come to a stop. From 10, 20, 80, 120 MPH. I have personally done this on a closed track. When people say the car continues to accelerate despite “pressing with all their might” on the brakes, their foot wasn’t on the brake pedal.

    Simple. End of story.

  23. Would it be possible to install a toggle on off switch on the hot wire to the distributator close to the ignition switch . In that way when a runaway sityation arrives all you would do is switch the toggle switch to off and kill the engine. I realize you would loose power steering but you can override the sterring. Putting the shift lever in nutral might not work.

  24. My only foreign car purchase a Honda had a similar problem, in the winter when the temperature got below 30 degrees the accelerator would stick, five trips to the dealer and as usual they could find nothing wrong with the car. I solved my problem by dumping the Honda and buying a Chevy and I have 75 thousand on it and not one problem period, I will never buy another foreign car that Honda was the worst car I have ever owned. So get rid of those cars before they kill you or someone else, once the truth comes out you won’t be able to give them away.

  25. Doesn’t sound like it when a guy drove over a cliff and killed his wife now does it? There is such a thing as mechanical failure after all cars are not perfect machines. It does sound more like the car’s computer needs replacing big time rather than the carpets. End of the story. Save some lives Toyota -do the right thing and recall these defective death traps.

  26. It may be possible to make a throttle stick, but here are the laws of physics:
    No car can overpower its brakes! From any speed. If your foot is on the brake pedal the car will come to a stop. From 10, 20, 80, 120 MPH. I have personally done this on a closed track. When people say the car continues to accelerate despite “pressing with all their might” on the brakes, their foot wasn’t on the brake pedal.

    Simple. End of story.

  27. DLH, do you know what else happens when one turns the ignition off?
    The steering wheel lock engages! Take your vehicle out on the freeway and accelerate to 80 miles per hour when you see some curves ahead – and when you enter the first curve turn off the ignition.
    If you survive, tell us if you still think the drivers of runaway vehicles were so very stupid.

  28. Maybe the problem is that Toyotas are made in the U.S. by U.S. workers. Seriously, People are very stupid, so far in of all these runaway vehicle stories I’ve read…no one has even tried to turn off the car…They call 911, but don’t think to turn off the car? put it in neutral? WTF?

  29. Hmmm? So De Shaney says those who purchased a Toyota get what they deserve and urges the purchase of a Chevy, or Ford etc. Didn’t Ford Pinto’s turn into rolling bombs? I guess the Japanese were behind that too??? Any car maker can have trouble. It’s time to grow up and look for answers, not pointing blame because Toyota is based in Japan. Many Toyota’s are made in the U.S. by U.S. workers.

  30. They have friends in high places – like Senator Shelby from Alabama who has the biggest Toyota plant in the USA. Shelby voted against GM getting any bailout money putting Toyota in the drivers seat and millions out of work. You have to hand it to people like Shelby -he is working hard for Toyota.
    Until the US government demands a recall-nothing will be done to save lives. Its all about the money. Thanks for your comments.

    Politicol News.

  31. Toyota has one of the best PR machines ever. They’ve been covering up issues for years. Toyota always blames someone else. It’s the supplier, it’s the consumer, etc. Sienna vans with door hinges coming loose from their welds, Toyota Tacoma and Tundra pickups with frames that rust so badly that one could put your finger through them, suspension components actually coming detached from the frame cause of rust. Toyota ignored putting LATCH child seat systems on Tundra pickups in certain seating positions.. When the NHTSA called Toyota out, instead of adding the LATCH system to the appropriate seating position Toyota instead removed the air bag switch on the passenger side, thus dis-qualifing the front passenger seat from needing LATCH. Yes that’s right Toyota’s fix when you brought in your Tundra was toe remove the air bag cut off switch. You can’t make this stuff up, simply amazing they get by with this.

  32. I had the same problem recently with my Toyota Camry 2007. When I was on the local road with my speed 40 m/h, I put my foot off from the pedal gas to start to stop at the intersection with the light. It was the road without the hill. Instead of slow down my car started to speed up. I was scared and push on the break pedal right away. The car stopped, but I was very nervous after that. I think Toyota needs to collect this customer experience to find out the cause of the problem.
    Sincerely, Larisa Fine. 11/05/09

  33. My mother had a Toyota runaway car incident just a year or two ago in her Brand NEW Lexus hybrid. She was parking the car at an In-&-Out, put it in reverse to correct the parking job and then hit the gas to reenter the spot, and it just took off!!!! The engine Revved!!! She tried to hit the brake, but nothing would stop it. It wasn’t the floor mat, that’s for sure. It could have killed someone if there had been someone on the sidewalk in front of her. Instead it literally landed across the way in the drive-thru and came down on a customer’s driver side window. My mom’s insurance was made to pay medical and vehicle costs. Cha-Ching$$$$

    Toyota has no explanation. They checked out the car and found nothing wrong with their creation. Toyota will not take the blame for the problem. Nor will they fix it. Because they refuse to see anything wrong with their defective vehicles. AMAZING!!! My mother was only re-parking the car… what else could it be- if not a mechanical defect. What will it take to get Toyota to WAKE-UP????!!!!

  34. We share your sentiments- only please use better language and less foul words to get your point across. Toyota like any other corporations has to ensure the safety of its products. We would like to think American drug company’s do that also, but they do not.

    You are seeing a culture of robbery -large corporations making defective cars, dangerous vaccines, tainted food -if you were a conspiracy theorist you would think this was all planned. If people do not stand up and demand better this is what you will be getting used to in the future. Corporations buy politicians -they are a dime a dozen.

    Toyota has some pretty nice friends in the Obama administration-or there would have been a legislated recall.
    They can do it if they get off their backsides and work for people-instead of the corporations.

  35. I wonder if Consumer Reports will finally get their heads out of their butts. Toyota not only designed something that was unsafe, they are making excuses and passing the blame onto the owners of these death traps. The typical Toyota buyer is a lemming anyway and will probably follow the other bags right of the cliff, literally.

  36. Hello,

    I am sorry to say that I dont feel sorry for anybody who owns a TOYOTA. If you people would have purchased AMERICAN you would be ALIVE!
    Sucks to be a TOYOTA owner. Maybe you will now get smart and buy american! examples include: Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford, etc.

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