February 21, 2018

Was fatal Lexus crash in US linked to Toyota throttle recall?

‘There’s no brakes… hold on and pray’: Last words of man before he and his family died in Toyota Lexus crash

A harrowing phone call from a family just seconds before they were killed in a car crash caused when the accelerator pedal in a Toyota vehicle became stuck has been made public.

Lexus crash

The fatal incident came to light as the U.S. transport secretary Ray LaHood ordered Americans to stop driving Toyotas immediately.

Lexus, Toyota’s luxury brand, has not been included in the current recall but was linked to a separate problem where accelerator pedals became stuck under floor mats.

Mark Saylor, his wife, child and brother-in-law Chris Lastrella were all killed when the hired Toyota Lexus they were travelling in accelerated out of control on a highway
in San Diego.

At this stage it remains speculation as to whether this crash was linked to the Toyota sticking throttle fault. According to the sheriff’s report in San Diego, the floor mat was a factor but electronic malfunction has not been ruled out. Information released on Toyota’s website states that mechanically similar Lexus models are not affected by sticking throttles because they use different pedals. However there is also a separate pedal entrapment fault, involving the floormat which the company is including in the recall. Perhaps Lexus cars share this design flaw –  and if so –  should also be recalled for remedial work.

The horrific incident last August adds to the public relations disaster that has enveloped the Japanese car maker since it recalled 4.5 million vehicles across the world because of ‘sticky accelerator’ problems.  More than 2.3million Toyotas have so far been recalled in the U.S, in addition to the 181,000 in Britain.

Below is the current list of Toyota cars affected by the throttle pedal recall. However the US Lexus crash and recent Toyota Prius recall for brake problems raises the question of  how many more Toyota models with unsafe accelerators and floormats  are on our roads?

UK models affected

Aygo MMT (Feb 2005 – Aug 2009)
Yaris (Nov 2005 – Sep 2009)
Auris (Oct 2006 – 5 Jan 2010)
Corolla (Oct 2006 – Dec 2009)
Verso (Feb 2009 – 5 Jan 2010)
Avensis (Nov 2008 – Dec 2009)

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