The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has counted 89 deaths since 2000 that are linked to crashes over unintended acceleration incidents involving Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles. The NHTSA responded to Bloomberg News' request for information and went over its records that span from 2000 up to May 20.
The agency revealed that deaths were recorded in 71 crashes, a sharp increase from the 43 reported last March. It said that it has gotten 6,200 complaints related to unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles in the cited period, a marked increase from the 2,600 complaints reported last March.
At a May 20 House hearing, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said that US regulators have yet to find evidence that would justify a new defect investigation. Strickland made this comment after speaking to 100 car owners who filed sudden acceleration complaints after Toyota had recalled and repaired their vehicles.
At the hearing, Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. President James Lentz said that the company has examined over 2,000 vehicles but so far, it has yet to find any electronic defects.
For Toyota's new models starting in 2011, Toyota will install advanced brake-override systems. Seven current models will also be retrofitted with a software fix, which slows a vehicle if it simultaneously gets signals to accelerate and brake.