Lexus, Toyota Recall; Floor Mat Causes Crash

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 9:45

Lexus, Toyota RecallToyota Motor said Tuesday it will soon issue a recall for at least 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles to fix a potential safety problem caused by a car’s floor mat jamming the accelerator.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, meanwhile, urged motorists not to wait for a fix. “This is an urgent matter,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “For everyone’s sake, we strongly urge owners of these vehicles to remove mats or other obstacles that could lead to unintended acceleration.”

The impending U.S. recall, the largest in Toyota history, followed a horrific crash last month in San Diego in which a mat was suspected of snagging a gas pedal on a runaway Lexus, ending with a fiery crash that killed four family members.

A minute before the crash, the driver called police to say the car had no brakes and the accelerator was stuck. The runaway car was doing more than 120 mph when it hit a sport-utility vehicle, launched off an embankment, rolled several times and burst into flames. The car, equipped with all-weather floor mats, was on loan from a dealership while the driver’s own vehicle was being repaired.

“The tragic accident in San Diego was certainly an eye opener for all of us,” said Senior Vice President Irving Miller, prompting the company to review previous allegations of unintended acceleration caused by floor mat interference.

Miller said the company could not quantify the number of complaints, nor could it estimate the cost of the safety campaign.

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55 Responses to “Lexus, Toyota Recall; Floor Mat Causes Crash”

  1. electric car news says:

    October 2nd, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Oh my! That is terrible. I never thought something like that could happen. In that case – how safe are our custom floor-mats? I got a natural woven mat (looks like bamboo). Gonna remove it after this horror story! 🙁
    .-= electric car news´s last blog ..Tanfield Loses Money on Electric Cars =-.

  2. Robert says:

    October 6th, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Wow…floormat jamming the accelerator. Of all the things that could go wrong in a vehicle…
    .-= Robert´s last blog ..Are Running Shoes the Enemy? =-.

  3. Gun Cabinets says:

    October 6th, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    I heard about this recall on the radio and I missed part of the report. I can understand how this could happen with the floor mat. I had this happen to me once while driving. It is not a good feeling. You have no idea at first what is happening and in the wrong circumstances this could have been bad. I just reached down and moved the floor mat. I am extra careful now with the floor mat placement. I think toyota is making the right decision to recall.

  4. David Adams@locksmith san francisco says:

    October 13th, 2009 at 2:19 am

    Yes, Until Toyota develops a remedy, it is asking owners of specific Toyota and Lexus models to take out any removable driver’s floor mat and NOT replace it with any other floor mat. The following models are affected:

    • 2007 – 2010 Camry
    • 2005 – 2010 Avalon
    • 2004 – 2009 Prius
    • 2005 – 2010 Tacoma
    • 2007 – 2010 Tundra
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  5. chino auto repair says:

    October 20th, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    I’ve bought floor mats from the auto parts store that have jammed underneath the brakes and jammed on the accelerator before, but nothing that could not quickly be undone. What needs to happen is for Toyota to develop some bolt on floor mats that you can take of and clean but won’t slide around like regular floor mats.

  6. Graeme@Flowers Australia says:

    October 22nd, 2009 at 2:11 am

    I’m assuming this is just a USA recall? Or worldwide? I had not heard of it before, and will try to find details about if the problem is over here too (Australia), thanks for the tip.

  7. Suresh@How to lose Weight quickly says:

    October 24th, 2009 at 4:10 am

    This is because of the low price mats, technical fault and engineering repair of the particular part of the design. It is not a matter to urges & it is a matter to ban the product(s) till it got repaired or cleared. The company itself do favour to all the customers to solve this and the owner of cars should get some clearance certificate from govt. officers.
    .-= Suresh@How to lose Weight quickly´s last blog ..Home Exercises to Lose Weight Quickly =-.

  8. kris@mortgage calculator says:

    October 26th, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Wow. That’s scary to imagine you can’t only slow down your car but it actually is speeding up. I don’t own a Lexus but my jeep actually has a small hook that keeps the mat in place. Maybe that’s what Lexus will need to do.
    .-= kris@mortgage calculator´s last blog ..A Guide to a 2nd Morgage Calculator =-.

  9. Reno Chiropractor says:

    October 26th, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    This is a tragic story and I am glad to hear that Toyota is doing the right thing with the recall, as I would expect them to do since they are a quality company. This however is not the only time this stuff happens we are only hearing about it because of the accident. Most companies are now making floor mats with pins or snaps that hold them to the floor and keep them from shifting while driving. People also need to learn how to handle these types of situations while driving. In this event the person driving should have put the car in neutral and applied the brake and everything probably would have been fine. I realize things are different when you are under stress, but that is what I would have done.

  10. Bob@Wooden Flooring says:

    October 27th, 2009 at 7:24 am

    This is tragic. However there are a lot of car manufacturers that do not provide car mats fitted correctly for the vehicle. In fact some do not even provide car mats as standard and is an additional extra. The consumer then purchases car mats off the shelf which do not fit. My feeling is that this should be legislation and car manufacturers should provide correctly fitted mats for their vehicles!

  11. Cars For Sale says:

    October 27th, 2009 at 7:50 am

    wooooooooooooo………………am extra careful now with the floor mat placementI’m getting confused about what to write exactly that I have enjoyed reading.competition for most of the vehicles that are there.impounded Cars For Sale attract plenty of people?

  12. Jeff@Louisiana Fishing, Hunting, Outdoors Forum says:

    October 30th, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    How many vehicles have had this issue in the past? You’d think they would learn. That is why all Ford and Chevy vehicles have mat hooks built into the floorboard.

  13. Bean Bag says:

    November 3rd, 2009 at 6:12 am

    OMG this is one of the most horrific stories I have heard in a long time. I am based in Ireland and this never hit the news over here. I am hoping that the same cars arent on sale here in the light of what happenned in the US.

  14. says:

    November 3rd, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    These kind of stories are unfortunate… sad really. But I do not understand, like many of you why this person did not turn off the ignition switch killing the motor? And why did they not have brakes? The accelerator jammed should not have effected either of these.
    .-=´s last blog ..Conversion Van | Ford Van | Chevy Van | Used Vans | Sprinter Van | Custom Vans | Camper Van | Class B =-.

  15. Billy@Long Mynd Hotel says:

    November 6th, 2009 at 8:15 am

    Yeah i agree with Martin, we should always go for Branded accessories, since it will always work in accordance with warranty and company also give assurance on it,so its more safe.

  16. Brett says:

    November 7th, 2009 at 12:32 am

    I’ve got branded ones in my Mom’s Nissan Sentra — fits like a glove! Of course, if you read the safety info you’re advised to remove the existing floor mats before installing the winter mats so you’re not bulking up too much.

    Of course anything under an accelerator or brake is bad news (ever thought that dropping your coffee mug / water bottle could end up rolling under the peddle?) so just take it easy and use common sense!

  17. Ryan@Dodge Sprinter Rv says:

    November 12th, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Wow! I have read about this issue a couple of times now and I am just amazed that something like this is happening. Who would have ever thought about floor mats jamming the accelerator. Such a small design flaw causing terrible accidents.

  18. mercruiser engines says:

    November 15th, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    This reminds me of the time a bottle of water fell from the center console into the footwell and rolled below the brake pedal in my track Miata. I had to duck down and dislodge the bottle before the next hairpin came up. I realized then why they make you dump everything out of the car (floor mats included) before you’re allowed on to the track

  19. mercruiser engines says:

    November 15th, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    This reminds me of the time a bottle of water fell from the center console into the footwell and rolled below the brake pedal in my track Miata. I had to duck down and dislodge the bottle before the next hairpin came up. I realized then why they make you dump everything out of the car (floor mats included) before you’re allowed on to the track

  20. Jim@Classic Cars For Sale says:

    November 16th, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Terrible situation. There may be more to this than first reported. Still waiting for full investigatiion.

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    November 18th, 2009 at 7:25 am

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  22. harry from used cars for sale says:

    November 23rd, 2009 at 3:07 am

    Accident can happen with anybody or with any car so It is very necessary that to get your car to service station regularly to to Avoid a Car Accidents. After all our lives in our hand.

  23. Nick@Solar Power Battery Chargers says:

    November 24th, 2009 at 1:55 am

    Wow, It’s amazing they can’t figure this stuff out earlier. I’m surprised too that it’s Toyota, since they normally are so good with stuff like this.
    .-= Nick@Solar Power Battery Chargers´s last blog ..Uses for Solar Energy =-.

  24. Dave Sappers@Web Design says:

    November 25th, 2009 at 2:11 am

    Yeah it happened with me one day, my break belt get jammed due to mat, but I handeled it very carefully and stopped my car, so when such incidence happens you need to handle the situations very carefully.

  25. David@Promotional Products says:

    November 25th, 2009 at 8:05 am

    one thing can be done, if branded floor mat has a problem, we can modify them and change a new one, so that accelerator belts would never stuck to it, i don’t think so its a big issue or problem from the Toyota side.

  26. blue car says:

    December 3rd, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    First it’s the floor mat then its the gas pedal, next it will be the brake pedal that will be recalled. Finally it will be the parking brake. I’m surprised at Toyota’s hit or miss approach to this problem as they are usually much better than this.

  27. Scooter Motorcycles says:

    December 8th, 2009 at 4:42 pm

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  28. Tuxedo Tonneau Covers and Cover Accessories for Trucks says:

    December 10th, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    That is horrible, but good to know. Thanks for the information

  29. ciro@cardetailing says:

    December 13th, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    What a stinker for Toyota! Frankly, I don’t like using floor mats when driving, especially thick ones that alter the hight of my feet in reference to the pedals!

  30. Dave@Fleet Services says:

    December 14th, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    It’s odd for such a recall to occur. These are some of the best middle of the road priced cars around. That’s good news for American car manufacturers though. Ford has been gaining ground on quality for a while.

  31. fuel card says:

    December 17th, 2009 at 9:34 am

    all these new developments in cars engines and safety and now we have the car mats jamming in the accelerator omg could be laughable if it wasnt dangerous

  32. Hino Trucks For Sale says:

    December 28th, 2009 at 5:15 am

    right bankowned.. you are right.
    car manufacturers have to provide perfectly fitted car mats.

  33. Cheap Auto Insurance Site says:

    January 7th, 2010 at 1:35 am

    Most companies are now making floor mats with pins or snaps that hold them to the floor and keep them from shifting while driving. People also need to learn how to handle these types of situations while driving.

  34. Logistics Transportation says:

    January 14th, 2010 at 9:20 am

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  35. Calgary diesel repair says:

    January 23rd, 2010 at 1:39 am

    this makes me laugh, 20 million dollar recall for a 2 dollar mat

  36. Charles Heinrich @ Car Dealers in Buffalo says:

    January 27th, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    As the owner of a car dealership, I can’t even imagine the headaches this would cause. That’s a very serious slip up on the manufacturer’s part. Although aren’t they now saying that it wasn’t actually the floor mats but rather something with the car’s gas pedal?

  37. Teena@V8 Supercars says:

    January 30th, 2010 at 11:28 am

    This is a very terrible news. Car companies should be extra careful in making cars or whatever that can result to accidents. It’s a good thing that they are taking actions about what happened.
    .-= Teena@V8 Supercars´s last blog ..Sydney Seaplanes – Scenic Flight, Sydney Highlights =-.

  38. Salvatore@Wisdek says:

    January 31st, 2010 at 8:27 am

    When I was in Driver’s Ed on a drive with the instructor, the instructor would, without warning, reach his foot over and stop the accelerator. The student driver was required to shift the transmission into neutral, then shut of the ignition. It was a simple test, and every student in the class passed it.

  39. Chris@Document scanning says:

    February 4th, 2010 at 1:35 am

    Toyota said it was still working with officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to find a remedy to fix the problem and said owners could be notified about the recall as early as next week. Toyota spokesman Irv Miller said until the company finds a fix, owners should take out the removable floor mat on the driver’s side and not replace it

  40. Car Dealers says:

    March 5th, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    The audio from the video is so horrific, so terrible that Toyota/Lexus is forced to recall because they want to avoid future lawsuits. It is doubtful a jury could not award something after hearing the 911 call.

  41. lonemountain@truckleasing says:

    May 9th, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    It never stops surprising me how how car companies will sacrifice human lives to save money. If it’s cheaper to pay for lawyers than parts, they’re all for it. This is nothing short of frightening.

  42. Car Auctions says:

    May 11th, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Wow! Toyota is going down hill. It is amazing how fast things can change. Now the American automakers are looking good. Never thought I’d see the day that would happen. And so fast too. Ford is really taking advantage of Toyota as well as Honda’s slippage.

  43. hydrogen fuel says:

    May 26th, 2010 at 11:08 am

    And the hits for Toyota just keep on coming as yesterday they announced the recall of 11,500 Lexus luxury cars due to a steering problem.

  44. Don@FortWayneContractors says:

    June 10th, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    I for one am skeptical over this whole thing. It’s only been in the last year or so that Toyota has had all these troubles, or at least that we have heard of. Could there be some reason Toyota is under attack by the US auto industry or government since they have dominated the market?

  45. Dangerous Goods Transport says:

    June 24th, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    In a way I’m sure that these kinds of issues with floormats are more common than reported – particulalry ones bought from shops and not “factory made”.

  46. VW Camper Vans says:

    June 24th, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    This kind of incidents are out of control. Sometimes floor mat can be an interference most special when we are in a hurry. That’s why I always pick a mat that I’m sure will make me feel comfortable.

  47. car accessories says:

    June 25th, 2010 at 4:48 am

    the companies should always be liable to that issue they should check very carefully the quality of a product..that will affect the brand name in such a small problem

  48. Romona Broyhill says:

    July 4th, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    The info is greatly aprreciated. It is sometimes hard to keep up with all the recalls out there. Your site is another good source that I will include and check from now on for updates. Keep up the good work.

  49. James@Nail Polish Rack says:

    July 5th, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    The way this entire thing unraveled really has me questioning the intentions of Toyota. They knew that the floor mats weren’t a problem to begin with, yet people continued to buy their lies. I mean c’mon, is it really reasonable to think that the poor officer that was traveling down the highway with his family members in a speeding Lexus didn’t think to check whether the floormat was pinning down the accelerator? That doesn’t to go say that the vehicle was unstoppable (it is still unclear whether he tried to put it into neutral).

  50. guar manufacturers says:

    July 20th, 2010 at 1:39 am

    this was very sad, from a company who follows the optmized manufacturing processes and take a great pride in the customer relationship. Anyways they had to bite the bullet and give the necessary refunds to the car owners.
    Probably due to the faulty manufacturing of the contractors.
    thanks for the article.

  51. Florida Permit Test says:

    July 20th, 2010 at 6:15 am

    Automotive manufacturers should concentrate more on safety factors of vehicle and check them thoroughly once before they available in Market,instead of recalling after some tragedy happen………………

  52. Electric Cars Report says:

    July 27th, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Problems with Toyota are not over. Earlier this month the company said it will recall 137,000 Lexus cars for engine problems that could, in rare instances, lead to stalling.

  53. Mobile Car Repair says:

    August 1st, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Why they don’t have  fixings or even velcro holding them in place is ridiculous.They can build these complex vehicles but can’t even fit some decent mats

  54. AudiNewCar says:

    August 9th, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Unfortunately a simple floor mat cause a car accident, this is not a big issues in the third world countries but in north America any thing that can harm user will need to be fixed and rectified. Toyota is going through tough period in last 2 or 3 years, a lots of malfunction claim is done and also goes to Lexus.

  55. Headlight Assembly says:

    August 24th, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    The impact this recall made to Toyota is really big. They lost millions of dollars last year and I think they are still in the process of braking even with their lost. My condolence goes to the family who lost their lives due to a malfunctioned accelerator. I hope this will be a lesson to all car manufacturers to double check everything and assure quality in every car that get out from their company