In its largest ever US recall, Toyota said it will redesign the accelerator pedals and the floor mats to reduce the risk of them jamming each other.
Toyota spokesman, Mike Michels, said the redesign involves removing the one-piece pedal assembly and cutting 20mm off the bottom and another small amount from the width of the pedal face.
“That's a simple matter. It doesn't affect any of the pedal assembly,” he said.
And as an “extra measure of confidence”, it will fit a brake override system throughout the Toyota and Lexus ranges, starting with the Camry and ES 350 in January 2010 and spreading to most new models by the end of the year.
The override system shuts off the engine if both the accelerator and the brake are pressed down simultaneously.
The vehicles affected include the 2007-2010 model year Toyota Camry, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2004-2009 Prius, 2005-2010 Tacoma and 2007-2010 Tundra.
The 2007-2010 Lexus ES 350 and 2006-2010 IS 250 and IS 350 are also among those to be recalled.
Toyota said it will start notifying drivers before the end of this year and will begin to repair the problem from April.
Until then it has encouraged owners to remove driver floor mats and not replace them with any others.
The recall seemingly brings an end to a long running investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with more than 2000 reports of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles since the year 2000, with as many as 19 deaths and 200 accidents linked to the problem.
The recall does not affect vehicles sold in Australia.
by Tim Beissmann