Toyota Recall: I Don't Want You To Die

BlogHer Original Post

My husband removed the floor mat from his 2005 Toyota Prius today, because he'd rather not die. Correction: I informed my husband to immediately remove the floor mat from him 2005 Toyota Prius so it wouldn't KILL HIM.

Toyota is recalling millions of vehicles, and despite being an owner of one of said recalled vehicles, I found out via the news. Yes I tend to panic a bit, but when you hear stories about accelerators getting stuck and families dying, I think I am allowed to panic.

From MNN.com:

Lastrella: Our accelerator is stuck. We're on 125.

911dDispatcher: Northbound 125. What are you passing?

Lastrella: We’re going 120. Mission Gorge. We’re in trouble. We can't … there is no brakes. End freeway half mile.

911 dispatcher: You can’t do anything like turn off your engine?

Lastrella: We’re approaching the intersection. We’re approaching the intersection. We’re approaching the intersection.

With voices inside the car shouting “hold on” and “pray,” the Lexus slammed into the rear of a Ford Explorer, hopped a curb, and burst through a fence before rolling down an embankment, becoming airborne and rolling several times before bursting into flames in the San Diego River Basin. All four people on board were killed.

So go ahead and tell me I'm just fueling panic and being over dramatic, but the fact of the matter is this recall is for real, people have died, and my husband's car is on the list. Not only is it on the list but we have yet to be sent a letter by Toyota or the dealership telling us what we should do.

So I called Toyota Santa Monica and asked.

Why? Because this morning I woke up and heard Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood telling a House committee that Toyota owners should "stop driving" their recalled cars. LaHood attempted to clarify his remarks later by saying Toyota owners concerned about their cars should take them in to the dealership. But the damage was done. Even stocks slipped on the news.

Toyota Crisis Mounts as U.S. Steps Up Pressure to Fix Vehicles

So that's what I did. I called the dealership. And the conversation wasn't very comforting. The very nice service department woman on the other end of the phone informed me that yes, my husband's car was part of the recall and as a "quick fix" he could remove his floor mat. She also then informed me that it didn't really matter though, because they don't have the parts to fix the problem...so she couldn't schedule an appointment or help me beyond telling me to remove the floor mat. And oh, by the way, once they DID get the parts in, she couldn't fix our car until we got an "official" recall letter in the mail.

Encoremind got a similar but even more disturbing response from his dealership "Don't have a letter either. Dealer says just put shift in neutral if you feel you are going to your certain death. %$&#@?!%"

I'm not the only one uncomfortable with all of this. Feather14 on Twitter tells me her 73-year old mother just bought her first car ever, a Toyota, and now she's too scared to drive it.

She started not going on the highway, then last week she felt something with the peddle and decided not to drive it anymore.

Jacki Mieler say, "Honestly, I wasn't too worried until the Transportation Sec's declaration today. Now I'm freaked. I need the truck in snow tho..."

However there are those with recalled vehicles that are less than concerned. Denise at BlogHer has the same floor mat problem in her Prius. When I told her to go immediately remove her floor mat (because I'd rather she didn't die either) she told me to "#suckit no I like my floormat."

Toyota is attempting to reassure car owners like myself who may not be as confident as Denise. The automaker issued this statement shortly after LaHood's remarks:

...Our message to Toyota owners is this – if you experience any issues with your accelerator pedal, please contact your dealer without delay. If you are not experiencing any issues with your pedal, we are confident that your vehicle is safe to drive.

Nothing is more important to Toyota than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive. Our entire organization of 172,000 North American employees and dealership personnel is working around the clock to fix the accelerator pedals for our customers.

So while we await word via official letter on how to handle this recall, I'll tell you what I told my husband: Next time, listen to your Detroit-born wife, granddaughter of a Chrysler worker, supporter of all things Detroit auto industry related...and buy Detroit*.

*I'm ignoring any recall, problem, issue, lack of innovation, or otherwise that may or may not have ever happened in the history of Detroit automaking. Today, and just for today, I'm gloating.

Contributing Editor Erin Kotecki Vest drives a Chrysler Town & Country and also blogs at Queen of Spain blog.

Politics & News Contributing Editor Erin Kotecki Vest

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