In its largest ‘safety recall’ in the United States, Toyota Motor Corp. has asked 3.8 million vehicle owners of seven popular models to remove the floor mat of their car that could jam the accelerator pedal and cause a crash.

The world’s number one automaker informed the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it will write to owners of the vehicles asking them to remove the floor mat while it works on a countermeasure.

The safety recalls concerns the Camry sedan, the top-selling passenger car in the United States, as well as the Pirus hybrid car, Lexus ES350, IS250 and IS350 luxury sedans.

The safety recall may deal a blow to the Japanese auto giant, Kyodo news agency quoted industry sources as saying.

The NHTSA said it has received reports of 100 related incidents, including 17 crashes and five fatalities involving Toyota vehicles.

In an earlier advisory, the NHTSA had urged owners to “make sure the driver-side floor mat is properly secured to the retention hooks on the floorboard.”

“Recent events have prompted Toyota to take a closer look at the potential for an accelerator pedal to get stuck in the full open position due to an unsecured or incompatible driver’s floor mat,” Toyota said.

“A stuck open accelerator pedal may result in very high vehicle speeds and make it difficult to stop the vehicle, which could cause a crash, serious injury or death,” it said.

It will be Toyota’s largest US recall and the country’s sixth-largest recall, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.

The recall launched yesterday was issued in the wake of a deadly crash in California believed to be the result of an accelerator pedal that got trapped and stuck by a floor mat, media reports said.

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