As reports continue to come in regarding untended acceleration by Toyota vehicles, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a recent press release advising Toyota / Lexus (and Pontiac) owners how to respond in the event they experience untended acceleration in their vehicle and potentially avoid personal injury or death. The five steps recommended by the NHTSA are:
1. Brake firmly and steadily – do not pump the brake pedal.
2. Shift the transmission into Neutral (for vehicles with automatic transmissions and the sport option, familiarize yourself with where Neutral is—the diagram may be misleading).
3. Steer to a safe location.
4. Shut the engine off (for vehicles with keyless ignition, familiarize yourself with how to turn the vehicle off when it is moving—this may be a different action than turning the vehicle off when it is stationary).
5. Call your dealer or repair shop to pick up the vehicle. Do not drive it.
To learn more about untended acceleration in a Toyota / Lexus or Pontiac, contact the NHTSA at (888) 327-4236. The NHTSA are also advising owners of the 2010 Prius, Lexus HS 250h, and 2010 Camry to be aware of potential braking issues where there can be a momentary loss of braking power.
Importantly, the NHTSA does not advise operators to first turn off the vehicle in the event of untended acceleration. As stated in a recent Toyota press release, "although turning off the ignition is a possible course of action, the first thing a driver should do is put the transmission in Neutral. This separates the driveline from the wheels, and gives the driver instant speed control over the vehicle, and allows the driver time to assess what is happening." Despite this warning, Toyota continues to dispute claims of untended acceleration by owners and operators its vehicles.