The Safety Report blog reported that on December 29, the New Jersey man’s Toyota accelerated along the highway without his input and could not be stopped by the brakes alone.
He could shift the vehicle between drive and neutral and did this as the engine revved at full throttle with his foot on the brake.
He called a local Toyota dealer who was only about four kilometres away and alerted them that he would be arriving with the uncontrollable vehicle soon.
When he got there he parked his Avalon with the engine still at full throttle and the dealer service inspected it. They unsuccessfully attempted to reduce the engine’s revs by forcing the accelerator pedal before shutting the car down.
The vehicle was later inspected by the Toyota regional representative who authorised and paid for a replacement of the throttle body and accelerator pedal assemblies and sensors.
No error codes had been stored on the vehicle’s computer, but the removed parts were taken to California for further analysis.
The dealer did not confirm that it had identified the cause of the problem but was willing to give the repaired car back to the owner.
Toyota has always denied that an electronically-induced case of SUA could occur without the in-vehicle computer recording a Diagnostic Trouble Code.
The Safety Report also reported on a suspicious one-car crash in Dallas on Boxing Day last year, where all four occupants of a 2008 Avalon died after their vehicle ran off the road and landed upside-down in a pond. The floor mats of this car were stored in the boot before the crash.
There is no evidence that SUA was to blame for this crash, but the rising number of instances and mounting public pressure has encouraged Toyota to open their investigations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Last year Toyota recalled 3.8 million vehicles in the US to replace their floor mats and accelerator pedals, the largest ever recall by the brand.
The recall and associated SUA issue does not affect Toyotas models purchased in Australia.