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Brett Emison
Brett Emison
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Toyota Recall: UPDATE – Toyota Recalls Not Fixing Acceleration Problem

17 comments

I’ve been saying it for months and reported it here again yesterday: Toyota’s recall fixes are not working. Now, the post-recall sudden acceleration complaints keep growing.

According to the New York Times, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") is investigating the continued accleration problem in vehicles that have already had the recall fixes.

Federal safety regulators said on Thursday that they were investigating cases of unintended acceleration in Toyotas that have already been repaired as the number of such reports grew to 60.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it could order Toyota to come up with a new remedy if it determined that the ones it was using were not effective.

***

The new complaints were filed with the safety agency, which said that it was contacting all of the new complainants and that it was asking Toyota to forward any reports of postrepair problems it receives.

“We are determined to get to the bottom of this,” David Strickland, the agency’s administrator, said in a statement.

Despite continuing acceleration problems — even after recall fixes — Toyota continues to deny that its electronics play any role in the sudden acceleration problem.

In fact, Toyota has gone to great lengths to dispute the findings of an electrical engineering professor’s test the recreated Toyota’s sudden acceleration problem by introducing a short circuit in the electronic throttle controls. After Toyota executives that Toyota’s own paid consultants could recreate Professor Gilbert’s test, Toyota is now criticizing the test has gone so far as to have Toyota employees resign positions on an advisory panel at Southern Illinois University where Professor Gilbert teaches.

According to Business Week, two Toyota employees resigned from the board with identical two-paragraph letters.

The identical two-paragraph letters, on Toyota stationery, said the executives were resigning “in view of recent events.”

“In addition, Toyota strongly recommends that Southern Illinois University cooperate with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and promptly respond to any requests that relate to any of the Toyota or Lexus vehicles worked on by Professor Gilbert,” the executives said in the letters.

So, this independent professor recreates a problem that Toyota has denied for more than five years and then Toyota retaliates against the University where Professor Gilbert teaches?

This is just one more example of Toyota’s well-documented history of attempted cover-ups of safety problems. Throughout the sudden acceleration time line, one thing has been consistent: Toyota has consistently misled the public about the nature and severity of the Toyota sudden acceleration problem. When given the opportunity to come forward with information, Toyota has chosen lie after lie after lie.

The Detroit Free Press has documented how Toyota has stonewalled the investigation of these problems since at least 2003. Now, Toyota has said its own data recorders are not reliable. What are these black boxes saying that has Toyota withholding this evidence?

After dragging its feet and being called "safety deaf" on the sudden acceleration recall, Toyota did it again when Toyota knew of the problems with its Prius brakes long before warning its drivers, customers and innocent motorists.

It is time that Toyota is finally held accountable for putting profits over safety and for putting money ahead of human life.

You can learn more at our safety blog and become a fan of Langdon & Emison on Facebook.

17 Comments

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  1. Maybeth says:
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    I dont know i thought this was kinda relaxing considering all thats going on.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riMOguGPyV8

  2. Brett Emison says:
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    Maybeth,

    Thanks for taking the time to read and post a comment. However, I must admit that I’ve missed whatever point you were trying to make.

    I’m not sure of the relevance of the video you posted. I’m sure the owner of the 1997 Toyota vehicle enjoyed driving it. However, that vehicle was produced before Toyota introduced the electronic throttle controls that seem to be at the center of the sudden acceleration problem.

    Thanks again for reading.

  3. BlindMellowJelly says:
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    When Toyota is willing to admit they have a problem and it’s not going away with apologies, maybe they will find an answer. But for now, they’re still taking their customers as fools who are dispensable.

  4. TEDI says:
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    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/toyota-hired-engineering-firm-attacks-professors-sudden-acceleration/story?id=10023218

    A firm today challenged the methods and conclusions of a Southern Illinois University automotive technology professor who claimed he found a serious flaw in Toyota’s electrical system design.

    As noted on the Blotter today, ABC News taped multiple demonstrations by Gilbert, and the shot of the tachometer that was recorded as the car was rolling was not originally used in the web video because of its shaky nature. That shot can now be viewed on the updated clip at ABCNews.com. The engine’s surge was comparable in all of the demonstrations performed by Gilbert as he induced the short.

    The engineering firm, Exponent, said while it was able to duplicate Prof. Gilbert’s demonstration, the “artificial nature” of his methods required a “complex combination of multiple faults or failures.” Exponent said Gilbert’s results could only be “contrived in the laboratory” and are “extraordinarily unlikely” to happen in the “real world.” Exponent also reported that it was able to use Gilbert’s methods to induce sudden acceleration in vehicles made by other manufacturers. The firm said even though the error code was not reported by the car’s computer, it would have left other tell-tale electronic “fingerprints.”

    Prof. Gilbert was not immediately available to comment on the Exponent report. Both he and Exponent have turned their findings over to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for further analysis. Gilbert was paid $1,800 by a safety consultant, Sean Kane, whose for-profit firm works with lawyers currently suing Toyota over the sudden acceleration issue.

  5. Brett Emison says:
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    Exponent has been paid hundreds of millions of dollars from many different car companies. Toyota has provided Exponent with an “unlimited” budget with the specific goal of disproving an electronic cause for sudden acceleration.

    What did you think Exponent would say? Would you bite the hand that feeds you $100 million?

  6. SuperG says:
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    I rather trust Exponent than somebody from
    unheard of College.
    ( Southern Illinois University?)

  7. TEDI says:
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    Quote:What did you think Exponent would say? Would you bite the hand that feeds you $100 million?

    YES. I DO. Shame on you BRET.

  8. Brett Emison says:
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    SuperG and TEDI,

    So, you believe a company that gets paid hundreds of millions of dollars by dozens of auto makers is less biased than an independent professor who got pai $1800 for his work?

    You’re entitled to your opinions, but I’m not buying it.

    Did you see Toyota’s sworn congressional testimony where Jim Lentz, head of Toyota USA, admitted that Expinent was able to recreate Professor Gilbert’s results. A few million more dollars and Exponent changed it’s story.

    Like everything behind Toyota’s conduct with it’s sudden acceleration problem, it looks like it was money that was Toyota’s (and Exponent’s) motivator.

    TEDI – if you’re going to try to scold me, at least spell my name correctly.

    Thanks for reading.

  9. BlindMellowJelly says:
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    Oh yes Toyota has the best evidence their money can buy, worthless and bought. Sorry Toyota the scam is over, the public is on to your deceitful lying ways. Exponent is just another one of your bought sources. You bought your quality record Toyota, now you are trying to buy your way out of fixing these DEATHTRAPS, shame on you.

    Who would you believe a man that was paid $1400.00 or a concern paid millions, who is most likely honest.

  10. tedi says:
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    Bret Lawyer right? (hoep you are a good one
    but….. better study code of ethics)
    http://www.yalelawjournal.org/the-yale-law-journal-pocket-part/professional-responsibility/protecting-a-business-entity-client-from-itself-through-loyal-disclosure/
    Code of ethics

    Protecting a Business Entity Client from Itself Through Loyal Disclosure
    Many attorneys are unaware of or misunderstand an important tool they can use to protect their business organization clients: the ability to disclose the client’s confidences. In jurisdictions with “loyal disclosure” rules—rules adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the American Bar Association in response to Enron and other corporate scandals—counsel may disclose confidential information to protect an entity client from the harmful, illegal conduct of company constituents. In this essay, I explain that an entity client has an interest in its attorneys understanding these complicated rules and, when appropriate, disclosing confidences to protect the organization from the financial consequences of constituent misconduct.

    In contrast to adverse disclosure rules that allow attorneys to divulge confidences to protect a third party or the lawyer, loyal disclosure rules permit counsel to disclose confidences to protect the entity client itself. The text of loyal disclosure rules is complex, but these rules essentially provide that disclosure is permitted if counsel is certain that constituents are engaged in illegal conduct and reasonably believes substantial injury to the organization can be averted through disclosure. Imagine that an attorney represents Renron Corporation. Renron’s managers are breaching their fiduciary duties to the corporation. They are defrauding the investing public. Counsel knows that if the managers are not stopped the company will suffer substantial financial injury. Counsel has presented these concerns to a committee of disinterested directors, but the directors refuse to act. Loyal disclosure rules permit counsel to reveal otherwise confidential information to save Renron.

  11. Brett Emison says:
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    tedi,

    Still haven’t gotten my name right, but that’s ok.

    You are correct. I am an attorney and I am familiar with the rules of ethics. However, I’m not quite sure about the leap you have attempted to make by referencing article from the Yale Law Journal.

    I do not represent Toyota. Even if California (where Toyota USA has its principal place of business) has adopted the rules that you reference, what do you think the chances are that Toyota’s own lawyers would turn on the company and reveal confidential Toyota documents proving sudden acceleration?

    Have you heard of Dimitrios Biller? (http://kansascity.injuryboard.com/automobile-accidents/toyota-recall-toyotas-culture-of-hypocricy-and-deception.aspx?googleid=278058)

    Biller was an attorney for Toyota. Toyota ordered Biller to systematically hide evidence in product liability cases involving defective Toyota vehicles. Biller attempted to turn over the hidden documents anyway and Toyota sued Biller for breach of contract and breach of attorney-client privilege. (http://www.newsdaily.com/stories/tre61p583-us-toyota-documents/) You can read more about Toyota’s history of secrecy and deception (http://kansascity.injuryboard.com/automobile-accidents/toyota-recall-toyotas-culture-of-secrecy.aspx?googleid=278278)

    I wish more Toyota lawyers would take advantage of the ethics rule you referred to in your comment. It is Toyota’s lawyers that need to brush up on their ethics, not me. Attorneys are officers of the Court. They have duty to be truthful and accurate in lawsuits — including producing documents and giving sworn answers to questions. According to Biller, he helped Toyota hide documents and lie to courts across the country.

    Biller apparently has seen the light. Let’s hope other Toyota attorneys do the same. However, Toyota has shown it will make it very difficult for any of its attorneys to do the right thing and turn over these documents.

    Let’s hope Toyota comes clean about the sudden acceleration problem before more people are injured or killed.

    Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment.

  12. tedi says:
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    http://media-newswire.com/release_1113953.html

    Toyota is looking to refute these claims by using research from the Stanford University Center for Automotive Research.

    I trust Stanford than Southern Illinois University.

  13. tedi says:
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    Mr.Brett Emison
    Don’t tell me you cannot trust Stanford University like “Exponent”.

    Prof Gilbert told a congressional committee last month that he had found a possible flaw in the electronic controls of a Toyota Avalon. He has acknowledged that his work was sponsored by five law firms involved in lawsuits against Toyota.

    The carmaker said it would show his claim was unsound through a joint demonstration by its own engineers and independent experts including Chris Gerdes, director of the Stanford University’s Center for Automotive Research.

    Bye.

  14. tedi says:
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    from the Washington Post

    Finally, Toyota can’t say this, but I can: Some of the cases of runaway acceleration could have been caused by driver error. Think about the times you’ve been in an accident, a near-miss or — more to the point — a distracted-driving situation that almost veered out of control. You remember the white-hot spike of fear that shot up your spine. You remember the shakes afterward. But do you remember what you did during those few seconds of panic? Do you remember where your feet and hands and eyes went?
    Quoting from a 2009 Los Angeles Times article on runaway Toyota acceleration:
    “Richard Schmidt, a former UCLA psychology professor and now an auto industry consultant specializing in human motor skills, said the problem almost always lies with drivers who step on the wrong pedal.

    ‘When the driver says they have their foot on the brake, they are just plain wrong,’ Schmidt said. ‘The human motor system is not perfect, and it doesn’t always do what it is told.’ ”

    If you were lucky, your reflexes, muscle memory and driving experience — and sheer chance — saved you, and you emerged unscathed from your near-miss. But you could just have easily smashed your foot down on the wrong pedal or jerked the wheel the wrong way. Or hit the radio volume and scared yourself into a dangerous maneuver. Or made a dozen other mistakes.

    And none of those would have been the fault of the automaker.

  15. Brett Emison says:
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    tedi,

    You were busy for a Sunday afternoon. I commend you for your work ethic, though I continue to disagree with your conclusions. It appears that we are at an impasse. It is clear that you have made your conclusions and I have made mine.

    I could continue to refute your comments point by point, but I suspect it would do little to appease you and do little to alter your opinions as your mind has been made. There’s nothing I or anyone else can say to change it.

    Let me just say that I have addressed each of the points raised in your comments in previous posts at this site (http://kansascity.injuryboard.com). You and others are free to read at your leisure.

    I have specifically reported and commented regarding Toyota’s continuing attacks on Professor Gilbert. You can view the report and the rebuttal from Safety Research at Strategies at this site (http://tinyurl.com/ycr6pws).

    Thank you again for a spirited debate.

  16. Tedi says:
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    Thanks Brett. Enjoyed for discussing with you.
    My Son is a litigation Lawyer. Thus I understand your position.

    Good luck.
    Regards

    TEDI