During the trial, Barr told defense attorneys that dynamometer tests had shown that Toyota's built-in failsafes had "gaps" in them. Moreover, he said, skid marks at the accident scene were not compatible with pedal misapplication, pedal entrapment was not an issue, and the vehicle had been inspected a dozen times for mechanical problems, such as throttle blockages. As a result, he concluded that it was more likely than not that a software malfunction had caused the throttle problem
When a Toyota defense attorney suggested that the accident could be explained by a simple pedal misapplication, Barr responded, "No, it cannot," according to court transcripts.
After a number of unintended acceleration cases came to light in the media during the past three years, the National Highway Traffic Administration stepped in and proposed a standard for a “brake-throttle override” system that would shut down the throttle in rare cases of unintended acceleration. Manufacturers enthusiastically supported the creation of a standard. Toyota did not have such a system on the 2005 Camry in the Oklahoma case, however.
Jurors in the case awarded $1.5 million to the driver and $1.5 million to the family of the passenger who died in the crash. A subsequent private settlement was reached to head off further punitive damages.
During the trial, Barr argued that Toyota could have easily saved itself all its troubles by implementing a brake-throttle override system. “It would have been very simple…” Barr said in testimony. “Toyota could have done this in 2002 without any extra cost to the vehicle.”
We have to understand that motor vehicle design, especially high end motor vehicle design, is a complex process and its hard to keep tabs on every part of the process. In addition, most of the process is automated and a simple glitch in any could have devastating effects such as the one witnessed in the 'acceleration mishap'. This is a wakeup call to designers not so keen on the minor details.
"Critic," it's time to stop trying to blame drivers for Toyota's lousy products. Time to face the fact that a jury heard expert testimony and found Toyota guilty by a "preponderance of the evidence," which is the legal terminology for the burden of proof in a civil case. The jury was obviously adamant because it went even further, stating that Toyota showed "reckless disregard" for Plaintiffs rights. Recall King Toyota has left a broad swath of destruction, featuring deaths, injuries, and at least one unjustly imprisoned Toyota driver who was finally relaesed after the facts were exposed. Talk about consumers paying a price...
The locked wheel proves that the brake system was at least partially functional.
The 150-foot skid mark proves that the driver had enough time to turn off the ignition and shift to neutral. Oh, she had enough time to apply the emergency/parking brake? Apparently she didn't know the proper procedure for stopping the car!!!
Most cars don't stop themselves- this is the driver's responsibility. Why didn't she push harder on the service brakes??? She was too weak? Maybe she should not have been driving. Maybe she had already ridden the brakes, instead of stopping the car.
Maybe there was something wrong with the car, maybe there was not. We don't know with 100% confidence. It's wrong to take one side or the other, except in a civil lawsuit, where the burden of proof is only "more likely than not."
Unfortunately, we consumers are going to pay the price for these lawsuits, regardless of what really happened.
Ratsky: Thanks for the heads up. We have friends close by who have bought & sold HYUNDAIS for the past 10+ years like most people change their socks. Not exactly sure why, since I never hear any negative comments. Maybe they just like the "experience" of buying a new vehicle every year or so.
There's a local HYUNDAI dealership in this west central FLA area that inundates the area w/ mail advertising. There isn't a week that passes that we don't receive at least one or more "SUPER SALE EVENTS of the Century", etc. Too bad there aren't laws restricting or clamping down on boasting! This dealership would win the Grand Prize every year.
Funny thing is that the old location of the TOYOTA dealer is almost directly across the highway from the HYUNDAI dealer. So, you can imagine the competition!!!
To tell you the truth, I've seen a drastic change in the attitude & daily operation of the TOYOTA dealership, and from my perspective, I can't say that I'm pleased with it. Buying a new vehicle in the coming years is going to be a scary event, I have the feeling. And, now with the vehicles becoming almost human-like in their intelligence, that scares me even more.....
One magazine, I think it was Car and Driver, did a test of this. Even a supercharged Roush Mustang, traveling at freeway speed, with sudden application of brakes and throttle came to a full stop. Their conclusion was that no ordinary car's engine, even with the car moving at freeway speed, was going to overcome its brakes.
No, Greg, they were not able to demonstrate the skid mark conclusion on a dynamometer. Measurements made at the accident scene served as the evidence. The 150-foot skid mark was believed to be far too long and the reduction in speed far too small if the driver was not fighting an open throttle, this expert said.
I hate to say it, but my wife's car is a Hyundai Sonata (2006), and our experience with that dealer are much worse! I've posted before about our adventures with that car's "designed by monkeys" airbag system, and the fact that the "fix" on the recall notice involved removal of the front passenegr seat and shipment to the factory (in California) so they could change out the (not reflashable) seat micro. Kicker was this did NOT fix the problem. NHTSA finally forced them to take action beyond a recall: what Hyundai did was send out a glove box label telling the passenger to set the seat fully upright, in the center of fore-aft range; otherwise the airbag would likely be disabled in the event of a crash! Cross another brand off my list.....
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recent backup camera mandate could open the door to more vehicle innovations, including better graphical displays, 360-degree camera views, and the increased use of Ethernet.
With support from National Instruments, a group of dedicated students from Connally High School in Austin, where more than 50% of the students are at risk of not graduating, have created a successful robotics team that is competing in the FIRST World Championships.
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