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 |  Jul 28 2011, 10:00 PM

Ford concealed documents pertaining to a case it won in 2010, according to a Florida judge who has thrown out its verdict.

In 2003, two people were injured in a 1991 Aerostar that suddenly accelerated into a telephone pole, seriously injuring them. The case went to court in 2010, and during the trial Ford argued that it was simply a driver error (sounds familiar, doesn’t it?) that caused the minivan to crash. The jury voted in Ford’s favor.

But according to the plaintiff’s lawyer, Ford withheld documents from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that suggested the cruise control system, not the driver’s foot, did cause and was capable of causing sudden acceleration. Judge William T. Swigert handed the victory to the plaintiffs after he found out, stating that “had Ford disclosed them, the government would have discovered years ago that electronic failures of the cruise control system is a cause of sudden acceleration.”

Unsurprisingly, Ford disagrees. They plan to appeal the case.

[Source: New York Times]

 

 |  Feb 15 2011, 3:23 PM

Toyota hasn’t had the best run of luck in the past little while, but the automaker may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. The Japanese automaker is seeing a surge in popularity, just two days after NASA engineers cleared the company of electronic flaws in its throttle control system.

It’s been a long 10-month investigation into causes of unintended acceleration in Toyota Motor Corp., and the verdict is in – NASA reports that the vehicles were free of electronic problems. The culprits, they stated, were due to floormat interference and sticky gas pedals, as well as drivers mistaking the accelerator for the brake.

But not everybody is convinced with the findings. Safety advocates and plaintiff attorneys are calling the study inconclusive and plan to continue to sue Toyota over unintended acceleration. Regardless, when NASA gave Toyota the big thumbs up, the automaker saw a big lift in the public’s esteem of the brand.  Once Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s announced that Toyota vehicles “are safe to drive,” the company’s popularity started to rise.

Does the NASA report make you feel any safer driving a Toyota? Are you more or less likely to buy a Toyota vehicle now that the Transportation Secretary has announced that they are safe to drive? Let us know in the comment section below.

[Source: Autonews]

 |  Oct 14 2010, 5:26 PM

Feel free to let out a huge sigh of relief – a panel of experts investigating the causes of sudden acceleration heard on Monday that the risks of driving a recalled Toyota are minimal.

Paul Fischbeck, a professor of social and decision sciences and engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, told the National Academy of Sciences that the risk of dying in a traffic crash is 1.05 deaths per 100 million miles traveled.

After examining the 2.3 million Toyota vehicles recalled for sticky pedals, Fischbeck said if all of these vehicles remained unfixed and were kept on the road, the risk of dying would rise to 1.07 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. That equates to an additional six deaths in a year (one Toyota-recall death per 5 billion miles traveled). This raises the odds of dying in any given year by 2 in 1 million.

The Academy is conducting an investigation at the request of the U.S. Transportation Department. This investigation is looking into the causes of sudden acceleration cases in Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles as well as across the auto industry.

Toyota has recalled nearly 6 million vehicles for sudden acceleration concerns in the United States. After investigating over 4,000 recalled models where driver’s complained of unintended acceleration, Toyota experts have found no instances of an electronic throttle flaw. These findings have been backed up by initial DOT findings that suggest driver error is to blame in most “unintended acceleration” cases.

[Source: The Detroit News]