The number of fatalities related to unintended acceleration of certain Toyota Motor Cor. vehicles has risen to 34, with a third of these complaints occurring very recently. Since Jan. 27, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has added nine crash reports to its database from 2005 to 2010, alleging 13 fatalities and 10 injuries.
US regulators say that after a major automotive recall, it is common for complaints to rise. In recent months, Toyota has recalled millions of vehicles due to complaints of unintended acceleration. Lately, the reports have been centered on safety issues and the congressional investigations.
In a statement, Toyota said that it is taking all customer reports seriously and that it is taking the necessary steps to establish more stringent quality controls, to be more aggressive in investigating complaints, to maintain open lines of communication with safety agencies, and to quickly respond to identified safety issues.
NHTSA said that complaints may contain claims that are unconfirmed and can have a non-specific cause. It also said that overall complaints alleging 34 deaths date to 2000.
Last October, Toyota recalled millions of popular-selling vehicles over complaints that the floor mats can come loose and trap the accelerator.