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Report: More than 100 Deaths Due to Sudden Acceleration in Toyotas

Posted: Mar 26, 2010 10:04 a.m.

The L.A. Times reports, "More than 100 deaths have now been blamed on sudden acceleration of Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles, nearly twice the number that had been reported two months ago, according to a Times review of public records."

USA Today says, "The higher count is due to a surge of reports in the wake of Toyota's troubles with unintended acceleration, the Times explained. It also went beyond NHTSA complaints to look at lawsuits and police records to come up with an official unofficially [sic] tally of 102 deaths."

In recent months, Toyota has recalled millions of vehicles in an effort to fix problems that could contribute to unintended acceleration.

Autoblog writes, "The rise in possible deaths related to sudden acceleration has led to a thorough evaluation of each and every fatality reported involving a recalled Toyota vehicle. All accidents involving recalled vehicles, and in particular cases that involve a fatality, will be investigated by the feds, and the government's final report should finally solidify the gruesome numbers."

Clarence Ditlow, of the Center for Auto Safety in Washington, told the Times, "People who were involved in crashes are saying, 'Look, I've always thought there was something wrong.' Now they're coming forward and saying, 'There was a crash that we believed to be sudden acceleration.'"

USA Today points out that increased publicity may bring out claims of unintended acceleration that are difficult to prove, including "a complaint made Feb. 16 by a Stamford, Conn., woman who says her son was killed Dec. 1, 2006, when his 2000 Toyota Solara raced to 100 miles per hour in New Britain, Conn. Yet the car didn't have electronic throttle control that some suspect is behind the rash of runaway Toyotas."

A Toyota spokesperson told the Times, "We have found no evidence at all of any electronic problem that could have led to unintended acceleration."  Also, Toyota said "It is normal to see an increase in complaints following the kind of publicity that this issue has taken on . . . We are diligently going to investigate all of these claims. We are doing it with more people and we are doing it as quickly as we can."

Check out the latest Toyota recall news and information, including how the company's recent troubles affect our rankings. If you're in the market for a new car, check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars as well as this month's best car deals.