Toyota will institute its largest ever safety related US recall due to floor mats that can hold down the accelerator and cause deadly high speed crashes. So far only a safety advisory has been issued until Toyota can work out the details of a recall. It will likely affect up to 3.8 million vehicles, including the Toyota Camry, Prius, Avalon, Tacoma truck, Tundra truck, as well as the Lexus ES350, IS150 and IS350.
First, the affected models:
What can car owners do now? Take any removable driver's side floor mat out of an affected model, and do not replace it. Then wait for details of how Toyota is going to fix the problem.
USA Today reports that the National Highway Transportation & Safety Administration (NHTSA) has received 102 reports of jammed accelerators in Toyota and Lexus models, including 13 crashes, 5 deaths and 17 injuries.
Toyota cannot recall the vehicles or floor mats until it has a fix approved by the NHTSA. According to the NHTSA's release and Toyota's press release, Toyota will be instituting a program to deal with the problem (i.e., a recall), but Toyota, and the NHTSA, in strong language, "warned owners to remove all driver-side floor mats from the models listed ... immediately as an interim safety measure in advance of the recall."
According to the NHTSA, some all-weather floor mats from 2007 and 2008 Lexus ES350's and Toyota Camry's were recalled in September of 2007 due to similar concerns.
The NHTSA cites unsecured floor mats, accelerator pedal configuration and the steps required to trun off the engine in keyless ignition models as perhaps contributing to the danger.
Owners of any of the listed vehicles (and other drivers as well) should read Toyota's advice on what to do if you get caught in a stuck accelerator situation.