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Toyota 4-Runner and Other SUV Rollover Cases

Toyota issues recall announcement affecting 880,000 vehicles

May 2005-Toyota Motor Corp. said it is recalling about 880,000 sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickup trucks worldwide because of a defect that could affect steering. In the United States, 774,856 Toyota SUVs and pickup trucks have been recalled, including the 2001-2004 model years of the Tacoma, the 2001-2002 versions of the 4Runner and the 2002-2004 model years of the Tundra and Sequoia. Toyota's recall announcement also affects 22,000 vehicles in Japan, 22,000 vehicles in Europe, 14,000 vehicles in Australia and 10,800 vehicles throughout the rest of the world. Read More

SUV Dangers

PRESS RELEASE

Public Citizen issues a statement on SUV rollover accident statistics
- July 17, 2003
After federal traffic statistics were released showing a significant increase in the number of fatal SUV rollover accidents to occur, Public Citizen consumer group’s president Joan Claybrook issued a statement. Public Citizen has been aggressively pushing for industry safety improvements to be implemented in SUVs, and Claybrook responded to the increase in fatalities saying, “The fact that rollover crashes were responsible for 82% of the increase should be a wake-up call to the automobile industry and Congress. Automakers can and should protect motorists from death and serious injuries in rollover crashes,” (NY Times, 7/18/03). For more information on SUV rollovers, please contact us.

Congressional Hearing Takes Closer Look at SUV Dangers
- February 26, 2003
A congressional hearing taking a close look at SUV rollover dangers took place on February 26, 2003 after critics have complained about SUV safety concerns for years. In January, Jeffrey Runge, the nation’s top auto safety regulator, stunned the entire industry when he criticized SUV safety. Concerned with the SUV rollover deaths and injuries, Runge spoke candidly about SUV rollover trends.

While the auto industry has been defending SUV safety, Public Citizen president and former director of the federal auto safety agency, Joan Claybrook, thinks that the closer look at SUV rollover safety concerns is long overdo. For years the auto industry has known about SUV rollover risks but has failed to properly address it in order to avoid regulation and the government did not step up in response according to Claybrook.

Data from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has been released indicating government figures show the fatality rate in SUV rollovers is three times greater than in cars. Regulators in conjunction with battling auto makers and consumer groups will soon determine any SUV rollover safety implementations and changes to be made in the future.

For more information on SUV rollovers, please contact us.

Public Citizen Consumer Group Issues Statement Regarding SUV Rollover Safety
- February 26, 2002
The Public Citizen consumer group has been pushing for tougher regulations on SUVs for years, especially following the 2000 and 2001 Firestone tire recall. The Public Citizen issues a press release stating Congress must impose safety standards on the deadly vehicles, referring to the SUVs as “behemoths”. According to both the Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook and former NHTSA Administrator, any voluntary measures that SUV makers have tried to implement are not enough to prevent the high number of SUV rollover fatalities that have been occurring.

Claybrook told members of the U.S. Senate that “manufacturers have known for years about these hazards, and instead of acting voluntarily, have bobbed, weaved, delayed and denied.” The only way to prevent any further SUV rollover fatalities and injuries is to enforce better regulation according to Claybrook. The Public Citizen president called for the NHTSA to require that SUVs meet government safety rules in order to prevent SUV rollover crashes, to protect occupants in SUV rollovers, and to become more compatible with passenger cars.

For more information on SUV rollovers, please contact us.

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Public Citizen releases a statement regarding SUV rollover
- February 14, 2003
Public Citizen consumer group President Joan Claybrook made a statement on February 14, 2003 in response to the auto industry’s plans for its voluntary SUV safety program. Claybrook thinks that the SUV safety program has been put into place to attempt avoiding making actual changes. The increase of SUV rollover incidents has placed a large spotlight on SUV manufacturers to make safety changes to increase SUV rollover protection for vehicle occupants.

The administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Dr. Jeffrey Runge has publicly spoken about his concerns with SUV rollovers, but when the automobile industry met with and wrote a letter to Runge saying only that they would research the issue of SUV rollover in working groups, he agreed. This action is an attempt to avoid the issuance of safety standards according to Claybrook.

Claybrook compared Runge’s acceptance of this voluntary auto industry action, and their failure to provide any type of deadlines, to the 1999 auto manufacturer agreement to design a test for side-impact head protection air bags. The 1999 “voluntary action” made by auto manufacturers refused to allow consumer participation and they failed to follow through with providing side-impact head protection air bags in most of the vehicles.

Auto manufacturers have known for almost a couple decades of the increased likelihood of SUV rollovers occurring because of inadequate protection provided for vehicle occupants. Sixty percent of SUV related deaths are attributed to SUV rollovers, numbers that indicate the urgency to better regulate SUV occupant safety according to Claybrook. Claybrook thinks that the failure for the NHTSA to demand a more strict action on the part of SUV auto manufacturers will only lead to a lack of action as soon as any public pressure dies down.

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