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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Back issues
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Consumers Slam Toyota’s Emergency Brakes

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A collision-avoidance system for Toyota does not decelerate the car significantly enough to prevent crashes, a class claims in Federal Court.

Tae Hee Lee and Alan Quan are the lead plaintiffs in the suit against Toyota Motor Sales for violation of consumer laws.

As advertised, Toyota's optional precollision system uses an on-car radar to detect an imminent frontal collision and automatically applies the brakes prior to impact, according to the complaint.

It allegedly costs $5,000 to equip Toyota's Prius V and other models with a system that includes other technology upgrades. The precollision system makes up $1,000 of that expense, according to the lawsuit.

Lee and Quan say the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety tested 47 models, including the Prius V, "in frontal crash scenarios set up at 12 and 25 miles per hour." The independent organization allegedly found that Toyota's system caused only a "negligible reduction in speed," and does not pass muster as a forward-collision warning system.

"Of those 47 models, only the Toyota Prius V and one Infinity model failed to qualify as a crash prevention system," the complaint states. "Despite the PCS [precollision system] being marketed and sold by TMS [Toyota Motor Sales] as an accident mitigation system that provides automatic braking in unavoidable frontal collisions, it provides no real safety benefit to consumers who paid for the option through either a sale or a lease."

Lee says Toyota officials responded to the institute's study by stating that the company never said Toyota models include collision-avoidance systems.

"This false statement makes clear that Toyota knew that the class vehicles equipped with PCS did not provide any effective automatic braking in unavoidable frontal collisions," the complaint says.

The class seeks $5 million for breach of warranty, fraud, breach of contract, bad faith and other claims.

It is represented by Richard McCune with McCuneWright of Redlands, Calif.

Toyota did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment after business hours Wednesday.

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