According to CNN, a 2006 “confidential” document it obtained
reveals that when conducting pre-production trials, Toyota engineers working
with a test vehicle noticed an electronic software issue that resulted
in “sudden unintended acceleration.” The finding reportedly
occurred during an adaptive cruise-control software test with a model
that would later be sold as a Lexus 460 in Europe and Japan. The engineers
noted that a “fail-safe overhaul” would be necessary for a
different model that would later become the Toyota Tundra.
Toyota denies that the document is evidence there was a sudden unintended acceleration-related problem and that rather, this is evidence of its “robust” design and preproduction testing process and commitment to ensuring that its vehicles are safe. The automaker maintains that its electronic systems have never caused sudden acceleration in its vehicles.
However, CNN says that the reported, translated three times, determined that engineers had expressed worry that the cruise control system might cause the vehicle to move forward of its own accord. The car manufacturer says this is inaccurate and that what was an experiment actually resulted in the system being refined and adjusted prior to production. (Toyota says that what happened was that its engineers purposely created an inappropriate sensor signal to test the electronic failsafe system. Although the test identified that there was an electronic sensor sensitivity threshold that was not acceptable, the auto did not actually move.) The automaker says that the problem that arose never happened with any motor vehicle that it motor vehicle that was sold.
Toyota came under fire in 2009 after a slew of car crash victims and families stepped forward claiming that their Lexus and Toyota autos had suddenly accelerated out of control, and in certain instances, could not be stopped despite drivers’ efforts. The automaker is now the defendant in over a hundredsudden unintended acceleration lawsuits seeking damages.
Toyota was also compelled to recall millions of vehicles to assuage sudden unintended acceleration concerns related to sticky gas pedals, floor mat pedal entrapment, and brake override problems. It was also required to pay nearly $50 million in fines to the national Highway Safety Administration in 2010 for lapses in safety reporting related to these matters. Despite the automaker’s denials, hundreds of sudden unintended auto crashes have been linked to Lexus and Toyota, with many of the accidents resulting in serious injuries and deaths.
The Gilbert Law Group represents victims of auto defects against large manufacturers. We are not afraid to go up against a corporation to make sure that you are compensated for the harm that you have suffered or the loss of a loved one.
Over the last few years, our auto products liability lawyers have been keeping a close watch on this safety issue involving sudden unintended acceleration. We’ve written many blog posts reporting on the latest developments, as well as highlighting some of the more high profile accidents that have been linked to this safety problem.
Experts: Translated Toyota memo shows electronic acceleration concern, CNN, March 1, 2012
Read one of the translations commissioned by CNN (PDF)
Toyota Denies CNN Report About Sudden Acceleration Concerns, Bloomberg, March 1, 2012
More Blog Posts:
Wrongful Death Trial Over Utah Toyota Sudden Acceleration Lawsuit is Scheduled for 2013, Product Liability Law Blog, June 17, 2011
Another Toyota Sudden Unintended Acceleration Accident?: Prius Crashes Into Mini-Mall, Trapping Driver in Elevator, Product Liability Law Blog, May 31, 2011
NHTSA Says Electronic Flaws Not Responsible for Toyota Sudden Acceleration Accidents, Product Liability Law Blog, February 9, 2011