Attorneys dispute federal findings about Toyota acceleration problem

13:15, February 09, 2011      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

The U.S. Department of Transportation's report that sudden-acceleration issues had nothing to do with electronic throttle-control systems in Toyota's vehicles has met with rebuff from attorneys involved in lawsuits against the company.


U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood holds a press conference in Washington D.C., the United States, Feb. 8, 2011. NASA engineers found no electronic flaws in Toyota vehicles capable of producing the large throttle openings required to create dangerous high-speed unintended acceleration incidents, showed a ten-month study released on Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Transportation. (Xinhua/Lin Yu)

The report's findings are flawed, claimed Steven W. Berman, one of the attorneys leading the class-action federal lawsuits pending before U.S. District Judge James Selna in Santa Ana near Los Angeles.

"It doesn't look to us like NASA looked really hard at the evidence," Berman said hours after the department issued the report on Tuesday.

"As far as we could tell there are thousands of complaints out there from very credible people. Some of our plaintiffs in the case are police officers who didn't have a sticky pedal or floor mat problem. Obviously they can drive cars, so how do they account for that?"

The federal report was based on analysis by NASA engineers of more than 280,000 lines of software code that could lead to runaway vehicles and concluded there were no malfunctions in the electronic systems that caused the sudden acceleration issues.

In the report, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said "there is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas."

LaHood said the verdict came after "we enlisted the best and brightest engineers to study Toyota's electronics systems."

Sticky accelerator pedals and poorly fitted floor mats were the only known causes of the runaway vehicles, according to the federal report, which mirrors the claim made by Toyota since the problem was first reported.

But the report was rebuffed by Berman who said the engineers also didn't "account for the fact that we continue to see runaway events post-recall."

"People have had their cars fixed -- the pedals and mats -- and NHTSA (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) is still getting complaints," he said.

Berman noted that despite the conclusion that problems were not related to electronic issues, NHTSA officials were still considering a proposal to require brake-override systems in vehicles.

Berman doubted the federal government's report would hurt the federal lawsuits.

"I don't think the report ends this matter one bit," Berman said.


(L to R) NASA Principal Engineer Michael Kirsch, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Deputy Administrator Ron Medford, and NHTSA Administrator David Strickland attend a press conference in Washington D.C., the United States, Feb. 8, 2011. NASA engineers found no electronic flaws in Toyota vehicles capable of producing the large throttle openings required to create dangerous high-speed unintended acceleration incidents, showed a ten-month study released on Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Transportation. (Xinhua/Lin Yu)

Attorney Marc M. Seltzer agreed, saying it didn't matter what caused the sudden accelerations since the federal lawsuits seek to hold Toyota accountable for not taking steps to fix the problems with some sort of brake-override system.

"Regardless of the root causes, there's a failure to have a brake-override system to prevent unintended acceleration," Seltzer said. "That's what we've contended all along is required and now NHTSA appears to agree with us."

Toyota has paid 48.8 million dollars in civil penalties related to the recall of 8 million vehicles in 2009 and last year.

Source: Xinhua
  • Do you have anything to say?

双语词典
dictionary

  
Special Coverage
  • Focus On China
  • Shanghai World Expo 2010
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • IOC arrives in France's Annecy for 2018 bid inspection
  • Many parts of China witnesses temperature drop
  • Cosplay wedding held in E China
  • Rare ginger-coloured baboon born at Ramat Gan Safari
  • Traffic smooth on first work day after Spring Festival
  • Job fair popular after people return from festival break
Hot Forum Dicussion