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Toyotas Independent Investigation Not So Independent

We do not know what Toyota did when the complaints of runaway vehicles began coming in. We know that now it has hired an “independent” outside company, Exponent, to do an “impartial” investigation of the sudden acceleration problem. Every auto defect litigator in the country knows Exponent. It has been paid at least tens and likely hundreds of millions of dollars by the auto industry to disprove defects.
For instance, Exponent statistically “proved” that weak, collapsing roofs do not increase injury risk to people in cars that roll over, several years before government researchers proved the opposite. Exponent is famous for conducting tests in which a failure does not occur, and claiming this proves the failure cannot occur. The company chooses the conditions of its testing to assure the failure will not occur.
As Professor David Michaels states in his expos√© on how regulatory agencies are being undermined by unethical corporations and the scientists who work for them, “I have yet to see an Exponent study that does not support the conclusion needed by the corporation or trade association that is paying the bills.” David Michaels, Doubt Is Their Product: How Industry’s Assault On Science Threatens Your Health, 47 (Oxford University Press 2008).
- Stuart Ollanik

More Toyota posts:
“What was Toyota Doing About Unintended Acceleration Five Years Ago?”, Product Liability Law Blog Mar. 23, 2010
“Big Day for Auto Recalls: Toyota Recalls 437,000 Lexus and Prius and More than 7,300 Camrys while Honda Expands Previous Airbag Inflator—Related Recall with Another 437,000 Vehicles,” Product Liability Law Blog Feb. 9, 2010

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