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.
With a recent surge of complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration factored in, sudden acceleration has been raised as a possible cause of crashes involving Toyota vehicles that led to 102 deaths, according to NHTSA records, lawsuits and police reports.
Department of Transportation spokeswoman Olivia Alair said NHTSA officials review all complaints and “take reports of injuries and deaths extremely seriously.”
“Right now, the agency is working to get to the bottom of the unintended acceleration issue by undertaking a new review of possible causes, including potential electromagnetic interference,” Alair said.
The complaints on file are simply allegations that defects may have caused the cars to suddenly accelerate before fatal crashes. Lawsuits have been filed against Toyota in several of the cases, but it could take years before juries decide whether Toyota was to blame.
One recent complaint was made Feb. 16 by Barbara Green of Stamford, Conn. She said her son, Blazej Ignatowicz, was killed Dec. 1, 2006, when his 2000 Toyota Solara raced to 100 mph in a New Britain, Conn., residential neighborhood, causing him to lose control and crash into some trees.
Many of the recent complaints involved crashes from several years ago and were filed only after Toyota announced its recalls.
Public concern about sudden acceleration was triggered by an incident last year that killed veteran California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor and three of his relatives near San Diego.
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