• Toyota’s sudden unintended acceleration: By the numbers Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    Putting a measuring stick to one of the auto world’s most vexing safety and legal quagmires, industry watchdog Safety Research and Strategies Inc. is reporting that nearly 6,500 incidents of sudden unintended acceleration by Toyota vehicles in recent years have caused nearly 2,500 crashes and more than 50 deaths.

    The report by SRS also yields tidbits of fascinating insight into the troubles of the world’s biggest auto maker, which has been bedeviled by recalls and buffeted by headlines that have dented what once was among the industry’s best reputations for reliability and safety.

    Which Toyota has suffered the most episodes of hurtling out of control? The top-selling Camry, with 415 reported episodes of unintended acceleration.

    Which model has been least likely to suddenly accelerate? The lowly Echo, one of Toyota’s least expensive cars, and the swank Lexus SC, one of the most pricey. Each had only one incident reported.

    The report comes with a caveat: It may be an under-count.

    SRS says that “from January 1, 1999, to January 5, 2011 an additional 82 crashes were reported, resulting in an additional 70 injuries and 98 deaths that have been excluded from our tally. These additional incidents represent crashes that speculate SUA; primarily these are crashes for which there are no witnesses or surviving passengers, or incidents that have not yet been investigated thoroughly.”

    -Eric Bailey

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