Public Comment

Acceleration Blues: Berkeley Incident Ignored by Toyota Corporation

By Dorothy Snodgrass
Wednesday March 10, 2010 - 06:21:00 PM

For the past several weeks we've been inundated with newspaper stories and TV coverage of the Toyota acceleration problem -- hapless drivers doing over 100 miles per hour on freeways, unable to stop. Let me tell you about my own personal experience -- one that's left me shaken after three weeks.  

On February 14th, I was attempting to leave my garage in the Berkeley Town House on Dana Street. I had backed out, seat belt secured, and was in Drive, waiting for the garage gate to open. Suddenly, with no warning at all, my 2003 Toyota Corolla accelerated and WHAM, in a flash I shot back, crashing into a cement wall. Needless to say, there was considerable damage to my car, but nothing like the damage to our garage wall. I should add that my model is not one being recalled by the company.  

I drove my car immediately to the Toyota dealer on Shattuck Avenue. No one there showed the slightest interest in this incident, not even coming out to check the damage. Instead, I was given an 800 number for the Toyota headquarters. Thus began hour after hour, day after day, telephone calls trying to get through to a human, breathing person to explain this harrowing experience. To this day I've been unsuccessful in reaching anyone at Toyota. 

Luckily, my insurance company promptly sent an appraiser to check the damage. I'm happy to report that after several days in the repair shop, my car has been restored to its original condition -- actually, much better than before -- the sizable repair bill paid in full by insurance. The matter of the damaged wall has not yet been resolved. 

Looking back on this terrifying incident, I can only thank the good lord above that no one was hurt. But I have to confess that I'm still shaken from the accident and know that it will take time before I'm fully comfortable driving again. 

Not one to hold grudges, I nevertheless am outraged by Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. for their total disinterest and lack of sympathy for this traumatic experience, no doubt occurring in similar cases throughout the country.