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Alleged Death Toll Mounts in Toyota Recall Cases

Posted: Feb 16, 2010 11:04 a.m.

As news spreads of Toyota’s multi-million car recall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is experiencing a surge in driver complaints -- including new reports of injury and death.

“Since Jan. 27, NHTSA has received complaints of 13 more deaths and 10 injuries in U.S. crashes, since 2005, that allege sudden acceleration as the cause in Toyota vehicles,” reports the Detroit News. “That brings to 34 the total number of deaths since 2000 allegedly related to unintended acceleration in Toyotas.”

“In addition to the fatalities, federal regulators said 22 people reported injuries from unintended acceleration accidents involving Toyota vehicles, which ranged from cuts and bruises to a woman left in a coma,” adds the Los Angeles Times.

According to the New York Times, Transportation Department spokeswoman Olivia Alair stated: “It is normal for N.H.T.S.A. to receive an increase in consumer complaints after a recall is announced and the public learns of a safety defect. N.H.T.S.A. takes every complaint seriously and reviews each one carefully.”

In fact, not every complaint can be verified. The agency tracks complaints, but doesn’t investigate them all – and may never be able to verify many of the new Toyota-related claims.  A review of the reported fatalities by the Detroit Free Press reveals “that 11 deaths come from cases with either eyewitnesses or physical evidence such as a trapped floor mat. The rest often lack hard evidence. Several come from people whose relatives died in accidents with no discernable cause, but who now suspect sudden acceleration played a role.” 

“The surge in complaints highlights the public's increased awareness of potential faults in Toyota vehicles and marks another setback for the embattled Japanese automaker,” writes the Washington Post. “The company has recalled more than 8 million vehicles since November because of reports of sudden acceleration and steering and braking issues.”

If you’ve experienced unintended acceleration or any other safety issue with your vehicle, be sure to register your complaint with the NHTSA.

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