Unintended Acceleration

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is dedicated to achieving excellence in motor vehicle and highway safety, as well as working daily to help prevent crashes and their attendant costs, both human and financial. In recent times, the Department of Transportation and NHTSA worked together to conduct a ten-month study of potential electronics-based causes for unintended acceleration in mainly Toyota vehicles. This study was released at the request of Congress and public release records came out on February 8, 2011. Some information was originally withheld from the records due to confidentiality under code 49 U.S.C. 30167, but was revised when confidentiality no longer applied.

In March 2010, NHTSA and NASA linked together to analyze the Toyota electronic throttle control (ETC) system. They were working to make determinations on whether or not it contained vulnerabilities that could cause an aspect known as Unintended Acceleration (UA). NASA, however, did not find an electronic cause of large throttle openings that could result in these incidents taking place. NHTSA did not find a vehicle-based cause of UA, either.

In light of the UA events and recalls being initiated due to accidents, Toyota agreed to pay an outstanding $1.2 billion to avoid prosecution for covering up the safety problems. The FBI, on court documents, had stated that Toyota made the unsafe decision of making cars with parts that they were aware of being deadly. When a manufacturer releases a product with the assumption that the product is defective and it is knowingly, they can be held liable for accidents that can occur as a result. A prosecution agreement came to light that forced Toyota to admit that it was misleading in its attempts to conceal and make deceptive statements about two safety-related issues affecting the vehicles. Both of these issues caused types of unintended acceleration. Sales over safety and profit over principle is never a good direction for any company.

When ABC first reported on the potential dangers of unintended acceleration in Toyotas in November 2009, Toyota made attempts to assure drivers of the incidents. They released information in statements that concluded the sudden acceleration was caused by floor mats becoming stuck on gas pedals or driver error alone. However, more and more costumers started complaining about similar problems that they were experiencing. When this occurred, these people were well aware of the fact that the sudden acceleration issues were not to blame on floor mats.

The problems with acceleration became quite a costly matter for Toyota. Toyota agreed to a largest-ever recall of an astounding 4.3 million vehicles to modify gas pedals and remove unsecured or incompatible driver’s floor mats. The recalls cost over $250 million in total. This was the biggest recall since issues with Audi in the late 1980s when accusations surfaced about unintended acceleration.

How Do I Stop Unintended Acceleration?
When UA occurs, there are some steps you can take to make things right. The moment that you suspect it is happening, you should press as hard on the brake pedal as possible. Keep hard pressure instead of pumping the brake pedal. Next, you should shift the transmission into neutral, which could rev the engine alarmingly high. The brakes will have an easier job because the engine power will be disengaged. The third step requires you to turn off the car. When the engine is shut off, you should pull the car off the road and call a tow truck immediately.

If unintended acceleration occurs, there are some things you should be aware of. However, you should also know that many vehicles out there have had issues in the past involving this specific problem and that this defect has landed in many lawsuits as a result. If you believe your car accelerated even though it wasn’t intended, and you were injured, this could lead to a personal injury lawsuit. Call MDL today for a consultation to speak about your claim and where things will lead.