photoToyota may be facing a new safety-related crisis. Federal safety regulators are looking into a motorist's report that the airbags in his 2008 Toyota Corolla failed to deploy when he hit a deer at 55 miles per hour.

The case involves Fred and Susan Maynard, who said the deer bounded in front of their car in Pennsylvania. The impact totaled the Corolla, Fred Maynard said but the airbags did not deploy.

Why the Maynards' experience caught the eye of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) isn't clear. ConsumerAffairs.com has received more than 170 complaints involving Toyota airbags either failing to deploy or deploying at the wrong time. Here area few complaints from recent months:

  • Maria of Costa Mesa, Calif., was driving her Toyota Tundra when the airbags deployedfor no apparent reason.

  • Oscar, of Laredo, Texas, said the airbags failed to deploy when his Toyota hit a tree at 35 miles per hour.

  • Stephanie of Millcreek, Ind., was in a head-on collision with a truck while driving her 2002 Camry. The airbags failed to deploy and she wound up in the hospital, she said.

  • David of Farmersburg, Inc., ran off the road and hit a ditch, causing his 2010 Prius to roll over. Although the car was totaled and at least one airbag sensor was hit, the airbags did not deploy, David said.

  • Leslie of Lake Placid, NY, said she hit black ice, her car went off the road at 40 miles per hour, hit a culvert and flipped over. No airbags deployed and she suffered serious injuries.

  • Kerry of Newport News, Va., said she t-boned another vehicle while driving her 2008 Camry. The front end of the car was “totally mangled,” she said, but no airbags deployed.

  • In Hope Valley, South Africa, Alta said the airbags failed to open when his Toyota was involved in an accident. He was injured and a child was killed.

The Corolla probe could affect as many as 170,000 vehicles. Corolla has been Toyota's second-best-selling model after the Camry in recent years.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said this week that the airbag probe could affect as many as 170,000 vehicles. The Corolla has been Toyota’s second-best selling model, after the Camry, in recent years.

Since the fall of 2009, Toyota has recalled 19.2 million vehicles worldwide and more than 13.7 million in the United States to address safety complaints, most involving reports of unintended acceleration.