Loose all-weather floor mat jams accelerator pedal. Photo: NHTSA
Whether or not so-called "sudden acceleration" problems involve issues with floor mats, operator confusion over pedals, or actual vehicle defects, several automakers rank far above others in terms of complaints made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Toyota has many more complaints racked up than other automakers, when looking at 2008 model-year vehicles, according to an analysis by Consumer Reports. As reported by the Consumer Reports car blog, Toyota had 41 percent of all unintended-acceleration complaints (52 in all) for 2008 model-year vehicles, while Ford has 28 percent of all complaints (36 in all). That's well above the 16-percent U.S. market share that each of the automakers held, averaging 2007 and 2008.
Chrysler was third, with 11 complaints determined by CR to be related to unintended acceleration; but that's relative to a 12-percent average market share.
Consumer Reports looked at 5,916 complaint reports and identified 166 cases of unintended acceleration in which the driver had trouble controlling the vehicle.
General Motors vehicles ranked especially low, according to CR, with a relative risk of just one in 500,000, while Honda and Nissan ranked even lower, with four and two percent of overall complaints, respectively. Based on the organization's analysis, the risk in Toyotas is about one in 50,000 of encountering the issue.
2009 lexus es350Enlarge Photo
After a number of complaints of stuck accelerator pedals, along with one California crash, killing four, involving a 2009 Lexus ES 350, Toyota and the federal government had issued warnings to remove any driver's side floor mats to help prevent the throttle pedal from sticking or jamming. Most recently, Toyota announced that it would recall 3.8 million vehicles to replace the accelerator pedal with a shorter design that eliminates the possibility of becoming entrapped by the floor mat.
The vehicles affected are:
And what do you do if you find your accelerator pedal stuck? Consumer Reports also last month posted this useful video clip.