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$20 mil Toyota wrongful-death lawsuit begins in U.S.

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60 Minutes aired a report titled "Out of Control" on November 23, 1986,[25] featuring interviews with six people who had sued Audi after reporting unintended acceleration, including footage of an Audi 5000 ostensibly displaying a surge of acceleration while the brake pedal was depressed.[26][27] Subsequent investigation revealed that 60 Minutes had not disclosed they had engineered the vehicle's behavior — fitting a canister of compressed air on the passenger-side floor, linked via a hose to a hole drilled into the transmission[25][26] — the arrangement executed by one of the experts who had testified on behalf of a plaintiff in a then pending lawsuit against Audi's parent company.[28] Audi contended, prior to findings by outside investigators,[24] that the problems were caused by driver error, specifically pedal misapplication.[24] Subsequently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that the majority of unintended acceleration cases, including all the ones that prompted the 60 Minutes report, were caused by driver error such as confusion of pedals.[29] CBS did not acknowledge the test results of involved government agencies, but did acknowledge the similar results of another study.[26] With the series of recall campaigns, Audi made several modifications; the first adjusted the distance between the brake and accelerator pedal on automatic-transmission models.[23] Later repairs, of 250,000 cars dating back to 1978, added a device requiring the driver to press the brake pedal before shifting out of park.[23] As a byproduct of sudden unintended acceleration, vehicles now include gear stick patterns and brake interlock mechanisms to prevent inadvertent gear selection. Audi’s U.S. sales, which had reached 74,061 in 1985, dropped to 12,283 in 1991 and remained level for three years.[23] — with resale values falling dramatically.[30] Audi subsequently offered increased warranty protection [30] and renamed the affected models — with the 5000 becoming the 100 and 200 in 1989.[24] The company only reached the same level of U.S. sales again by model year 2000.[23] As of early 2010, a class-action lawsuit filed in 1987 by about 7,500 Audi 5000-model owners remains unsettled and is currently contested in county court in Chicago after appeals at the Illinois state and U.S. federal levels.[23] The plaintiffs in this lawsuit charge that on account of the sudden acceleration controversy, Audis had lost resale value.[26]

That is what I am saying. ==> I don't believe Toyota is at fault or can fix this -besides educating drivers better. ==> I do not see this as a "tin whisker" (mechanical electronics) issue. Either way it does not matter and drivers need to learn how to put a car in neutral or use the clutch. Pure crazyness if you ask me that drivers are allowing themselves to put themselves in a out of control position.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

but why not just put the car in neutral (Audi 1980's had the same issue). ==> is this a driver issue?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudden_unintended_acceleration

1987 The 1982-1987 Audi 5000s sales in the United States fell after recalls linked to sudden unintended acceleration. There were 700 accidents and 6 deaths. 1988: 1986 Honda Accords were documented to have had sudden acceleration incidents due to the Vehicle Speed Control component, as reported to the NHTSA.[11] 1997: Sudden acceleration in Jeep Cherokees and Jeep Grand Cherokees was reported by Diane Sawyer in a March 1997 ABC News Primetime segment.[12][13] 2000: Several Ford Explorers were reported about in the UK by a Channel 4 news program where the vehicle was already moving at speed and experienced sudden acceleration.[14] 2005: Incident observed in a Toyota Camry. The cause was found out to be a tin whisker.[15] 2006: The 2004 model year Ford Mustang Cobra was recalled by Ford for accelerator pedals that failed to return to idle after being fully pressed.[16] 2008: Incidents involving the 2005 Kia Amanti and Kia Sephia had been reported that were preceded by a racing or highly revving engine.[17][18] 2009: Toyota Avalon displays unintended acceleration without floor mat; observed by dealer.[19] 2009: Chase Weir's experience with sudden acceleration in his Ford Explorer while driving on a freeway was reported by a number of news organisations, along with the released 000 emergency recordings of the incident.[20] 2009-2010: Several vehicles were recalled in the 2009–2010 Toyota vehicle recalls, which resulted in suspension of production and sales of many of Toyota's most popular models, including the Toyota Corolla, Toyota Camry, Toyota Tacoma pickups, Toyota Avalon, Toyota Matrix, Pontiac Vibe, and more.[21][22]

3 ( +3 / -0 )

http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/550x412x52166200-550x412.jpg.pagespeed.ic.sNCCbPUJSX.jpg

This is a horrible case and it seems they are using a (US) Japanese person to set precedent against a Japanese company. Much like the Boeing "DreamLiner" -I hope they find absolution and solution to these incidents.

http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2010-02/toyota-deaths_52461517.jpg

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Audi 1980's had the same issue

Audi did not have the same issue. It was proven to be caused by driver misapplication of acceleration instead of a break, and a completely fabricated story by the "60 minutes" show of the unfamous CBS. Next time research before spreading rumors.

An investigation by NHTSA cleared Audi of all fault, but as a by-product, better safety mechanisms were invented (brake interlock and acceleration cutoff by brake). Toyota failed to introduce the brake cutoff even 20 years after all other major manufacturers did, therefore they are completely at fault (some of the crashed cars were found with completely burned brakes)

2 ( +3 / -1 )

In the case of the Audi 5000 , the accelerator and brake pedals were located too close to each other causing driver errors. (pressing the gas instead of the brakes).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-07/toyota-faces-first-trial-over-acceleration-linked-death.html

Noriko Uno, 66, died Aug. 28, 2009. While she was running errands, her car was struck by one driven by an 86-year-old driver who ran a stop sign and who is also defendant at the trial. The Camry spun, and Uno’s foot got stuck between the gas and brake pedals, the family said in court papers, and the car accelerated out of control. Noriko Uno tried in vain to brake with her left foot, according to the family. After about half a mile her car struck a tree as she tried to avoid oncoming traffic, the family said.

Not enough info to say definitely but it looks like she mistakenly pressed the gas after being hit by the other car.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Is this the case where the woman concerned offered as evidence, a doctors report stating that ligament damage in her foot was consistent with someone pressing the brake pedal with extreme force? If so, what damage would have been done to the same foot if she pressed (by mistake) the accelerator pedal? Different injury?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

An example of when software errors kill

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I do not see this as a "tin whisker" (mechanical electronics) issue.

The drivers literally burned the brakes trying to stop the cars, but they couldn't. Don't you think this is an issue? It's easy to give advice from the armchair (btw, the Camry was an automatic, no clutch to press), but try thinking clearly when you're driving for the first time over 180 km/h on a relatively busy street.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"The plaintiffs contend Uno died when her Toyota Camry suddenly accelerated and crashed despite her efforts to stop."

Amazing how these sudden accelerations have never occurred anywhere else but the USA.

"A lawyer suing Toyota over the death of a California woman has told a jury he will ask for $20 million in damages."

Only $20 million? Why not go for $50 million or $100 million, lol.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Noriko Uno, 66, died Aug. 28, 2009. While she was running errands, her car was struck by one driven by an 86-year-old driver who ran a stop sign and who is also defendant at the trial. The Camry spun, and Uno’s foot got stuck between the gas and brake pedals, the family said in court papers, and the car accelerated out of control. Noriko Uno tried in vain to brake with her left foot, according to the family

Accidents happen and Toyota is not at fault here. Shameful money-grubbers. This is something personal car insurance should cover.

http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Toyota-Sudden-Acceleration-Case-Set-Begin-California-216422781.html ==>Note: Media does not mention her car getting hit before accelerator got wedged down.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Because people can't drive and are looking for an easy buck Toyota has to pay out.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

http://www.toyotaelsettlement.com/Home/FAQ#8d

C. Money payment to eligible current owners and lessees in lieu of offer of Brake Override System installation. If the settlement is finally approved (including any appeals resolved in favor of the settlement), Toyota will pay $250 million into a fund for distribution to eligible Class Members who still own or lease their Subject Vehicles, unless (a) their Subject Vehicle is a hybrid vehicle; (b) they already actually received a brake override system installation on their Subject Vehicle; or (c) they are eligible for the brake override system on their Subject Vehicles as described in the Settlement Agreement (available on the settlement website). This fund will be distributed according to the plan of allocation, which is also available on the settlement website. Eligible Class Members’ payments may range from $37 to $125, depending on the state in which the Class Member resides, the number of claims submitted, and other adjustments and deductions. It is possible that payments will be lower, however, or may be higher, depending upon the number of Claims submitted and other factors, but in no event will exceed $125.

The Court has awarded Class Counsel attorneys’ fees of $200 million, plus an additional $27 million in costs and expenses. These fees and expenses will go to the multiple plaintiffs’ firms and approximately 85 attorneys who worked on the litigation. The Court also awarded payments to each of the 25 Plaintiffs and Class Representatives totaling $395,270 for their time invested in connection with the Actions. This order is subject to appeal. These payments will not reduce the value of the settlement benefits made available to Class Members. Toyota will also separately pay these attorneys’ fees and expenses and also will pay the costs to provide notice of and to administer the settlement, subject to potential reimbursement of these costs pursuant to the terms of the settlement

==> Just follow the money. In the end Toyota owners that sell or sold their cars lost thousands of dollars each. And Toyota still is getting blamed for a problem that most likely doesn't exist.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It is not Political. Technically it is possible to have this situation in a car that have the Adaptive cruise control when the algorithm have a glitch. It can be that a certain scenario in there was not been identified during the requirements engineering, FMEA, Functional Safety Test. I think there is a break override safety system because this is easily can tested when you are buying the car, the car dealer would demonstrate it and the buyer would test it...it is actually the features that normally makes the buyer buy the car.... but maybe not in all scenarios.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Readers, please keep the discussion focused on Toyota.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I miss my 1967 Mustang with no computer and even my 1970 GTO no computers no problems. Just had to know how to change the plugs and set the points. If you are going to computerize cars make sure there is a manual over-ride system in place. Preferably the brake.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Investigators found burned brakes

Maybe those people had burned their brakes before that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

badsey3 Aug. 10, 2013 - 05:46AM JST Accidents happen and Toyota is not at fault here. Shameful money-grubbers. This is something personal car insurance should cover.

Sure, there are individual cases pending, but why would Toyota settled the lawsuit for $1.1 Billion? Because Toyota could afforded it and simply cut its legal bills by settling the lawsuit? Or were there significant damaging evidence that Toyota did not want to disclose? By settling the lawsuit, the U.S. Court never gets to hear the evidence. Only by going to trial, which will now never occur, does a court opinion get stated. By settling the lawsuit, Toyota never lied, never was negligent, and never was malfeasant in dealing with its customers? By settling the lawsuit, Toyota will never be sued again for this problem?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How would you stop this Lexus ES350 during the sudden accelation? The wrong floor mat caused sudden accelation in San Diego case. In that vehicle, in order to shut this Lexus engine off, you have to push the button for three seconds straight while the car is going full blast (which amount to distance of over 500-600 feet). Did the driver of the rented Lexus knew ahead that in order to shut the engine off, you to push red button for three seconds? Of course not. If you try to put in neutral on this gate automatic transmission, you cannot shift to neutal while running. it's locked. If you applied the brakes, it will eventually heat up so much to the point where brake does not work. What would you have done? More you look at this Lexus ES350, Toyota engineers designed this car very poorly with no safety in mind.

Yep, it is truly amazing how people can conjure these stories and craft them in a way that it makes it difficult to defend in court, hence the cheapest option is a settlement like this. The only thing worse than the creators this junk, is the legal environment that allows it to happen. But then again, lawyers have to get rich somehow, right? Or did you actually believe this was about safety??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Would Toyota and japan jump up and down in excitement about how they've achieved something Audi did? no? then why all the instant blame? If Toyota did something wrong I'm not sure how it stopped being wrong even IF it were based on Audi's example.

Forget the money with this sentence, put a deserving person in jail. A few million to the family of the woman now being eaten by worms thanks to Toyota won't do squat. Give that same few millions, and put whomever is responsible in jail -- you might get a bit less of a 'sumimasen, shouganai' reply.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Amazing how these sudden accelerations have never occurred anywhere else but the USA.

Because outside the USA people around the Globe have decent driving skills and driving experience.

The wrong floor mat caused sudden accelation in San Diego case. In that vehicle, in order to shut this Lexus engine off, you have to push the button for three seconds straight while the car is going full blast (which amount to distance of over 500-600 feet). Did the driver of the rented Lexus knew ahead that in order to shut the engine off, you to push red button for three seconds? Of course not. If you try to put in neutral on this gate automatic transmission, you cannot shift to neutal while running. it's locked. If you applied the brakes, it will eventually heat up so much to the point where brake does not work. What would you have done? More you look at this Lexus ES350, Toyota engineers designed this car very poorly with no safety in mind.

Do not blame Toyota for your bad driving skills. Learn to drive. Hire a good driving instructor for your safety in all road conditions. Plain and simple. "Bad dancer always blames his balls for his poor dancing skills". A proverb.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

badsey3 Aug. 10, 2013 - 07:18AM JST Just follow the money. In the end Toyota owners that sell or sold their cars lost thousands of dollars each. And Toyota still is getting blamed for a problem that most likely doesn't exist.

Then let me ask you this question: How would you stop this Lexus ES350 during the sudden accelation? The wrong floor mat caused sudden accelation in San Diego case. In that vehicle, in order to shut this Lexus engine off, you have to push the button for three seconds straight while the car is going full blast (which amount to distance of over 500-600 feet). Did the driver of the rented Lexus knew ahead that in order to shut the engine off, you to push red button for three seconds? Of course not. If you try to put in neutral on this gate automatic transmission, you cannot shift to neutal while running. it's locked. If you applied the brakes, it will eventually heat up so much to the point where brake does not work. What would you have done? More you look at this Lexus ES350, Toyota engineers designed this car very poorly with no safety in mind.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Toyota should be held responsible for failing to apply the basic brake override(brake always has higher proirity over accel) in their software.Its time to come out in the open and admit it with real Samurai spirit...And it is pathetic how Toyot was working round the clock to fix the acceleration issue in the Emperors car while not caring a bit about the lives of ordinary Americans.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

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