Driving a Toyota Hybrid is environmentally friendly and should be just as safe as operating any other motor vehicle. Unfortunately, for many years this has not been the case. According to a safety petition filed on September 19, 2019, by the president of Claremont Toyota and Capistrano Toyota in Southern California, many of Toyota’s vehicles, some of which were on the road as early as 2010, are equipped with faulty brake systems.
Since 2010, in fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA) has received 115 complaints that may be related to brake failures in Toyota Hybrids. At least 60 of these complaints involved collisions.
What Vehicles Are Affected?
Many of these hybrid vehicles are outfitted with brake booster pump assemblies that have an alarming tendency to fail. Toyota has acknowledged the problem, agreeing to cover the parts under a warranty extension and offer post-failure, reactionary brake repairs. The company also has issued two voluntary safety recalls of other Toyota makes and models for the same or similar brake problems, but refuses to do so for these hybrid vehicles.
The safety petition against Toyota includes the following years and models, all of which contain potentially faulty brake booster pump assemblies:
- 2010-2015 Prius (Liftback) and Prius Plug-in Hybrid
- 2012-2014 Camry Hybrid
- 2013-2015 Avalon Hybrid
If you drive one of these vehicles, you could be putting yourself, your passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers at risk. While Toyota has not issued any recent recalls and is not offering preventative repairs or replacements, you may have legal options if you are concerned about operating your vehicle.
To discuss potential remedies, call McCune Wright Arevalo, LLP at (909) 345-8110.
A 48-year-old man was behind the wheel of a rented 2013 Toyota Prius when he got off the 170 freeway in North Hollywood and found that he was unable to stop the car. He attempted to brake as the vehicle careened into a crosswalk and collided with 3 teenage girls. The vehicle continued until it crashed into a Nissan Sentra, struck the curb, and came to a stop.
Tragically, one of the victims suffered permanent brain damage from the accident and is unable to live independently, per a report published on January 3, 2020. The driver was in a state of shock, was transported to the hospital with minor injuries, and said in a statement to Daily News:
“My brakes didn’t hold, and I don’t have any comments.”
Los Angeles Police Department Traffic Investigator Gregory J. Andrachick affirmed the driver’s statement. In his investigation, Andrachick said the brakes of the rented Prius “went all the way to the floor,” when he tested them after the collision.
The Toyota dealer who filed the petition highlighted this incident in his claim, stating:
“Toyota has put innocent lives at risk by knowingly excluding hundreds of thousands of hybrids with defective brakes from past safety recall populations,”
“This brake defect is causing crashes that are injuring people – and Toyota is mishandling it.”
What You Can Do
The NHTSA is currently reviewing the defect petition against Toyota and will and is considering a formal investigation.
If you have safety concerns related to any of the vehicles listed in this article, please visit NHTSA.gov or call 888-327-4236.
Even if the NHTSA decides to investigate, it will likely be at least one year before any recalls are ordered.
In the meantime, pay close attention to your brakes if you drive a Toyota hybrid.
Once again, if you are concerned about brake failure even though you have not experienced it yet, please contact our attorneys at (909) 345-8110 or online. Even though you have not experienced brake failure yet, you may be evaluable in proceeding with a class action lawsuit against Toyota.
If you have already experienced braking problems while driving a Toyota hybrid, please get in touch with our firm as soon as possible. We can also file a personal injury claim on your behalf to help you recover compensation from your car accident and hold Toyota accountable.
If you have any kind of claim against Toyota or related to Toyota hybrid brake failures, please call us today at (909) 345-8110 and schedule a free consultation.