remember this is the same media that reports politics
Toyota recalls 2.17 million more vehicles over possible pedal entrapment — AutoblogAutoblog said:Toyota has announced that it's voluntarily recalling approximately 2.17 million vehicles due to possible pedal entrapment issues. In case you've forgotten about Toyota's massive recall from last year, this new issue affects 2.17 million more vehicles where the driver's side floor mat can become a potential hazard. Uh oh.
In October of 2009, Toyota recalled nearly five million vehicles because of possible issues with the floor mats. In January of 2010, the automaker recalled an additional 2.3 million due to an issue with sticking accelerator pedals.
This latest rash of recalls pertains to:
2009 Toyota 4Runner (603,000 units)
2004-2006 Toyota Highlander and Highlander Hybrid (397,000 units)
2006-2010 Toyota RAV4 (761,000 units)
2008-2011 Lexus LX 570 (17,000 units)
2006-2007 Lexus GS 300 and 350 all-wheel-drive models (20,000 units)
2004-2007 Lexus RX 330, 350 and 400h (372,000 units)
Toyota will be sending out notices to vehicle owners by first-class mail, and dealerships will fix the issue with no cost to the owner.
Jury rules Toyota didn't cause sudden acceleration accident — AutoblogBloomBerg said:April 1 (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp. wasn’t responsible for causing a doctor’s 2005 Scion to suddenly accelerate and smash into a tree, a federal jury in Central Islip, New York, ruled today.
The accident was caused by the driver, Amir Sitafalwalla, rather than the brake or the floor mat, said a lawyer for Toyota, John Randolph Bibb Jr., in his closing statement today.
Sitafalwalla “made a mistake in the operation of his 2005 Scion TC,” Bibb told jurors. “He made a simple but unfortunate mistake.”
The jury deliberated for less than an hour.
“It was all about how the mat came into play and obviously it didn’t,” juror Penny Overbeck, 38, of Center Moriches, New York, said after the verdict.
She said her vote was also influenced by “all the testing Toyota did. They had it all on video. It pretty much explained it.”
Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, recalled millions of U.S. vehicles, starting in 2009, for defects related to sudden unintended acceleration. Sitafalwalla, a Long Island, New York, doctor who filed his lawsuit in 2008, had the first case related to the issue to go to trial since the recalls.
Sitafalwalla had argued the accident was caused by defects in either the electronic throttle system or the floor mats. On March 29, U.S. Magistrate Judge E. Thomas Boyle, presiding over the trial, ruled out evidence on the electronics.
Due to its design, “it’s just not physically possible” for the Scion TC’s floor mat “to entrap the accelerator pedal,” said Bibb, of Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop PC in Nashville, Tennessee.
“We weighed all the evidence and came to the conclusion that there was not a defect with the automobile,” said Regina Desio of Plainview, New York, the jury forewoman. She declined to give her age.
Albert Zafonte Jr., a lawyer for Sitafalwalla, said he was “disappointed in the verdict. I thought there was sufficient evidence for the jury to find otherwise.”
Both he and co-counsel George Statfeld said they would have to consider whether to appeal.
Zafonte said in his closing statement that a defect in the design and distribution of the mat system caused the accident.
The design allowed the mat to shift onto the accelerator pedal, Zafonte said. Toyota also failed to install a brake- override system that would have prevented the accident and was available on the 2005 Prius, he said.
The jury found Toyota wasn’t liable for product liability concerning either the mat or the absence of a brake-override system.
Toyota is facing hundreds of lawsuits claiming lost vehicle value or personal injuries caused by incidents of sudden unintended acceleration. Sitafalwalla claimed the automaker knew its vehicles could unintentionally speed up, leaving drivers at risk for accidents and injuries. Sitafalwalla, an emergency room physician, was injured in the August 2005 accident in the driveway of his Port Washington, New York, home.
The case is Sitafalwalla v. Toyota, 08-03001, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Central Islip).
Most federal cases claiming economic loss or injuries related to sudden acceleration are combined as In re Toyota Motor Corp. Unintended Acceleration Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation, 8:10-ml-02151, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Santa Ana).
Automotive News said:SANTA ANA, Calif. (Bloomberg) -- Toyota Motor Corp. won dismissal of the first sudden acceleration lawsuit set for trial in California in 2013 because a federal judge determined it should have been filed in state court in Utah.
Toyota recalled at least 8 million U.S. vehicles starting in 2009, after claims of defects and incidents involving unintended acceleration. The recalls set off hundreds of economic-loss suits and claims of injuries and deaths. The first test case was set for trial in February 2013.
U.S. District Judge James V. Selna in Santa Ana, Calif., today dismissed that first bellwether case, brought by the families of two people killed in a crash in Utah in 2010, finding a federal warranty claim in the lawsuit failed to meet a required $50,000 threshold for damages. The plaintiffs couldn’t count potential personal injury or punitive damages to reach this requirement, under federal law, Selna said.
“Plaintiffs are unable to reach the jurisdictional threshold of $50,000 in damages,” Selna said. “The case is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.”
The ruling won’t keep the case from being tried or from remaining in federal court, Mark Robinson, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a phone interview. The warranty claim, brought under the federal Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, was aimed at the dealer and isn’t essential to the lawsuit against Toyota, Robinson said.
“I am drafting a new complaint right now in which the dealer will not be named as a defendant and everything will be cured and the suit will go forward seeking punitive damages and everything else,” he said.
“We are pleased this jurisdictional issue has been resolved and that the court agrees with Toyota that the proper forum for this case is Utah state court,” Celeste Migliore, a Toyota spokeswoman, said in an e-mailed statement.
The Utah lawsuit was filed on behalf of Paul Van Alfen, who died when his 2008 Toyota Camry crashed into a wall, and passenger Charlene Lloyd, who died the next day.
Van Alfen’s wife and son were injured in the 2010 crash and are suing as well. The families say the accident happened when the vehicle unexpectedly accelerated as Van Alfen pulled onto an exit ramp on I-80 near Wendover, Utah, and didn’t stop even after he slammed on the brakes.
The families alleged the Camry was defective and the carmaker failed to include a brake override system or device to stop inadvertent acceleration.
The Van Alfen case was selected in June as the first test case in the sudden acceleration claims before Selna. A bellwether case is used by the court and lawyers for both sides to test evidence and liability theories before moving on to other trials or limiting future litigation.
Lawsuits were combined before Selna in a multidistrict litigation for evidence-gathering and pretrial rulings.
The limit is there to assure that the Supreme Court doesn't have to waste its time hearing cases more suited for the People's Court.I like how they dismissed the first sudden acceleration case against toyota over a technicality because the plaintiffs couldn’t count personal injury/death or punitive damages due to federal law. So even if 6 people died in a multiple car accident over the toyota flaw, as long as the total damage is under 50K there's no case, meaning that the loss of life or personal injuries has no pull and doesn't matter in the case. Gotta love America
CNN said:Washington (CNN) -- Toyota engineers found an electronic software problem that caused "sudden unintended acceleration" in a test vehicle during pre-production trials, according to a company engineering document obtained by and translated for CNN.
The 2006 document, marked "confidential," recounted the results of an adaptive cruise-control software test in a model internally designated the 250L, a vehicle later sold as the Lexus 460 in Japan and Europe. The document says a "fail-safe overhaul" would be needed for another model in production, internally designated the 180L, which the company says was later sold as a Toyota Tundra.
Toyota insists that the document shows no such thing, and it continues to deny that any sudden unintended acceleration in any of its vehicles was caused by electronic systems. But three translations of the report, including two commissioned by CNN after Toyota's objections, found that engineers raised concerns that the adaptive cruise control system would start the car moving forward on its own.
Read the original document and English translations here
"The cruise control activates by itself at full throttle when the accelerator pedal position sensor is abnormal," states the document, written in Japanese, translated into English.
Software glitches were an early suspect in the rash of reports of sudden, unintended accelerations reported in Toyota vehicles in 2010, some of which caused severe accidents and several fatalities. But both Toyota and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration concluded that electronics were not at fault, instead blaming bad floor mats, sticky accelerator pedals and, in some cases, driver error.
Toyota engineer on test memo
Toyota has never conceded that an electronics or software problem could be responsible in any way for sudden acceleration in its cars and trucks.
"This looks like an example of electronics causing a car to suddenly accelerate," said Michael Pecht, director of the CALCE Electronics Products and Systems Center at the University of Maryland.
Pecht, a mechanical engineering professor, was assigned to look into the sudden acceleration of Toyota vehicles as a consultant for Congress. He said the document should have been included in any investigation, and he questioned why it wasn't shared with the NHTSA, NASA -- which assisted the highway safety agency's review -- and Congress.
Toyota said it did not share the document with the NHTSA because "the test and the document had nothing to do with unintended acceleration, or a defect, or a safety flaw of any kind."
Toyota electrical engineer Kristen Tabar said the sequence described in the test memo "takes place in a fraction of a second."
"This is a case where the vehicle is under test," said Tabar, a manager at the Toyota Technical Center near Ann Arbor, Michigan. "Again, we input an abnormal signal. The vehicle reacts appropriately to that signal and releases the brake, just as we would expect it to do and want it to do. This has nothing to do with sudden unintended acceleration at all."
Toyota says that the test vehicle "did not physically move forward" and that the experiment led to "an adjustment and refinement" of the cruise control before it went into production. The issue has never occurred in any Toyota vehicle sold, the company said.
The company says the document was meant to alert other engineers to the pre-production problem, so lessons learned could be shared. Neither the test vehicle nor the adaptive cruise-control system cited in the document have been sold in the United States, Toyota said.
The engineering document was originally provided to CNN in Japanese, with an English translation (PDF). When Toyota complained about what it said were inaccuracies in the original translation (PDF), CNN retained a Tokyo-based translation house with expertise in automotive and technical matters to independently retranslate the document.
That translation backed up the first, finding that Toyota engineers recorded a "sudden unintended acceleration" in the 250L's adaptive cruise control, which was designed to slow the vehicle if sensors detected an object ahead and accelerate the vehicle when the obstacle clears.
But Toyota again said the translation was inaccurate (PDF).
"The exact translation is not 'sudden unintended acceleration,' " said Tabar, who does not speak Japanese. "This is a test referring to adaptive cruise control, so the literal translation is, 'it can begin or start by itself,' which is consistent with what you would expect from a cruise control, or in this case, an adaptive cruise control system."
When Toyota argued that both translations were in error, CNN commissioned a third translation (PDF) by another firm in the United States with expertise in automotive and engineering translations. According to the third translation, Toyota's engineers stated that a test was conducted on the 180L "to prevent the accelerator malfunction that caused the vehicle to accelerate on its own" in an earlier test of the 250L.
Despite multiple requests, Toyota did not provide its own translation of the document.
Neil Hanneman, an independent automobile safety engineer based in California, examined all three translations of the document at CNN's request and concluded that in 2006, Toyota did in fact have an electronics issue.
"This is a tangible, repeatable, fixable issue that they've identified in this vehicle," Hanneman said. "It's related to software issues, which is something Toyota has said is infallible in their systems."
Another analyst who reviewed all three translations, Clarence Ditlow, reached a similar conclusion.
"What the memo tells me is that there was an electronic problem that caused unintended acceleration in an earlier-model Lexus -- the 250 -- and they wanted to avoid the same problem occurring in the 180," said Ditlow, the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, a watchdog group founded by Ralph Nader. "And they identified a failure mode."
But Toyota officials said that in this instance, engineers "intentionally and artificially produced an inappropriate sensor signal as a test of the electronic failsafe system." Toyota said that the test "merely identified an unacceptable electronic sensor sensitivity threshold" and that the vehicle did not physically move during the test.
Toyota spokesman John Hanson emphasized that the problem was fixed before the vehicle was put into production. He called the document obtained by CNN "evidence of Toyota's robust design process."
In a letter to CNN, Toyota said, "It is ironic and disheartening that a document that is actually evidence of Toyota's robust vehicle design and pre-production testing to ensure safety is the apparent centerpiece for CNN's broadcast."
The Toyota and NHTSA conclusions on the cause of the 2010 rash of unintended acceleration problems in the U.S. were backed up by the National Research Council, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences. In a January 18 report, the research council called those findings legitimate but warned that the NHTSA could face difficulties in examining increasingly complicated electronic systems unless it adds more electronics expertise to investigation teams.
In 2011, motorists reported 331 incidents of sudden acceleration to the NHTSA, according to data compiled by Safety Research and Strategies Inc., a consulting firm that has in the past advised consumers who have filed lawsuits against Toyota. Safety Research and Strategies has recently filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking documents and videos of one such incident, in a 2004 Prius.