Toyota announced today that it is recalling 2.17 million vehicles in the United States because of gas pedals that could become trapped in floor mats or carpet.
That’s in addition to Toyota’s multimillion-vehicle recall in 2009 that also addressed the issue of trapped pedals. The company has added three models to that recall: the Toyota 4Runner, the Lexus LX 570; and the Toyota RAV4.
It’s smart for Toyota to do this voluntarily, but not exactly surprising. Indeed, the company has taken some significant steps lately to ensure safety and quality in its vehicles–building a global data base to track vehicle repairs, deploying response teams to determine the cause of accidents, and announcing that it’ll soon name a high-level official in Japan as a sort of engineering-safety czar.
All this even though earlier this month the National Highway Traffic Safety Board–with the help of NASA engineers–ruled that most of the reported accidents involving Toyotas and unintended acceleration were the result of driver error, not any malfunctions with the car.
Toyota of course still faces hundreds of lawsuits regarding those accidents. It has recalled more than 14 million vehicles globally for safety problems since 2009.
Simply put, this is one step among many that Toyota must take in order to fully regain the public trust. It’s a move in the right direction.