A new Toyota recall has been issued for approximately 8,000 Toyota Tacoma 4WD trucks from the 2010 model year, as they may have defective drive shafts that could cause drivers to lose control of the pick-up trucks. The vehicles will join millions of Toyota and Lexus vehicles recalled in recent months over issues like brake problems and uncontrolled acceleration, which have been linked to dozens of deaths.
The Toyota Tacoma recall was issued over a manufacturing problem that the auto maker indicates could have caused cracks in the front drive shaft of some of the vehilcles. The cracks could cause the driveshaft to separate and fall from the truck, leading to a loss of control and potential accidents that could cause serious injury or death.
Affected drivers are being asked to bring their vehicles into Toyota dealerships for inspection to ensure their drive shafts show no signs of fracture. Toyota officials say the inspections should take about 10 minutes. The 2010 Toyota Tacoma 4WD trucks affected by the recall were manufactured between December 2009 and early this month.
Last week, the Japanese auto maker announced a Toyota Prius recall and Lexus HS250h recall that affected approximately 437,000 hybrid vehicles sold this year, as a software glitch could cause drivers to experience brake failure.
In September 2009, a Lexus and Toyota floor mat recall was issued for 3.8 million vehicles that contained certain all-weather floor mats, which Toyota indicated could get stuck under the gas pedals, causing unintended acceleration. In January, Toyota issued another recall for 2.3 million Toyota vehicles due to a mechanical problem that was causing some gas pedals to stick.
At least 34 deaths have been associated with the Toyota sudden acceleration problem, according to the most recent data submitted to a database maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Thirteen of those deaths were reported to the government over the last three weeks.
The acceleration problem gained national attention following a fatal accident in California in August, where an off-duty state trooper and three family members were killed while driving a Lexus ES 350 on loan from a San Diego dealership. Minutes before the fatal Lexus crash, passengers called police and reported that the Lexus had accelerated to 120 m.p.h. Witnesses reported that the carís tires were on fire, which was likely due to the driver slamming on the brakes before slamming into an SUV, falling off an embankment, rolling over multiple times and bursting into flames.
The Toyota accelerator pedal recalls have resulted in more than 60 Toyota lawsuits, including over a dozen wrongful death and personal injury claims.