Toyota has issued a recall of about 94,000 Highlander & Highlander Hybrids (2008 model year) as well as nearly 214,000 RAV4 (2007-2008 model years) sport utility vehicles in an announcement to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on Thursday April 21st, 2011.

After 3 years of being aware of the safety hazard, Toyota is now acknowledging that the curtain shield air bags installed in the 2007 and 2008 RAV4s and the 2008 Highlanders and Highlander Hybrids are dangerous and can deploy without warning. One consumer victim of this dangerous safety hazard said “I turned the ignition on and the side air bags on both sides exploded […] It felt like someone had put a bomb in my car.”

Toyota defended themselves, saying they changed the two sensors that were causing the problem back on 2007 when they first heard about the airbags suddenly deploying without warning. Yet, Toyota continued to get inundated with reports of sudden airbag deployment, many of which caused injuries. The sensors themselves are finicky devises as another consumer who was a victim who’s airbags eventually deployed explained, “Every time I brought it in, the mechanic would run a test and say that it was just a glitch in the system. We asked them if it was O.K. to drive and they said it was fine.”

In 2011, Toyota received over $45 million in fines, nearly the maximum allowed, after accusations that the company neglected to report safety issues within the Federally Regulated time period allotted a car manufacturer.

As always, we at Law & Kolakowski are here for you. If you have purchased a 2007 or 2008 Toyota RAV4, a 2008 Toyota Highlander, or a 2008 Highlander Hybrid, and you’ve had any issues please contact us right away.