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Anderson Cooper / CNN: Confidential Toyota Document Acknwledged Sudden Acceleration

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Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN aired a story last night discussing a 2006 Toyota internal "confidential" document that acknowledging electronic-caused sudden unintended acceleration that described an electronic "malfunction that caused the vehicle to acceleration on its own."

"The cruise control activates by itself at full throttle when the accelerator pedal position sensor is abnormal," states the document, written in Japanese, translated into English.

***

"This looks like a classic example of electronics causing a car to suddenly accelerate," said Michael Pecht, director of the CALCE Electronics Products and Systems Center at the University of Maryland.

Source: CNN

Unsurprisingly, Toyota tried for weeks to convince CNN to not air its report.

Contrary to many media reports, the NHTSA and NASA investigation did not vindicate Toyota's electronics as a potential cause of sudden unintended acceleration. Instead, NASA wrote that the Toyota electronic throttle control system is so complex that it was not realistic to prove that it cannot cause unintended acceleration and that NASA's report "does not vindicate the system." In fact, NASA identified a number of electronic causes of sudden unintended acceleration in its report.

Moreover, it appears that neither NHTSA or NASA had all of the critical documents and reports on Toyota SUA at the time the investigation was done. Toyota, for example, failed to provide NHTSA with the critical document discussed in Anderson Cooper's report. NHTSA failed to share critical public reports of sudden acceleration, like that Joseph McClelland.

This latest report on Toyota sudden acceleration raises another refrain of the critical question: What did Toyota know; and when did it know it?

[More on Toyota]

[More on Sudden Acceleration]

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(c) Copyright 2012 Brett A. Emison

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3 Comments

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  1. allan says:
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    I am very disappointed in the biased reporting on Toyota. Did your reporters ever spend the few minutes it would take to compile the statistics on the number of incidents of driver error when individuals step on the gas peddle instead of the brake? There is a large segment of honest people that admit this. Your reporters turn a blind eye to this statistic. If they looked into this they would see that people make this mistake in all kinds of cars. Many times a day. Don’t you watch the news and see all the makes of cars that go through store fronts??? Don’t your reporters…producers, etc., ever think that it is curious that this so called sudden acceleration seems to generally occur when the driver is about to stop and would normally be hitting the brake…hence the lady you had on the show with the Lexis!!! She pulled into a parking spot which would require her to brake but instead the car went forward. She obviously hit the gas. It doesn’t take an on-board computer (that proved she hit the gas peddle instead of the brake) to determine the mistake she made. Many people make that mistake every day and admit it. It isn’t just a coincidence that these reported incidents have many common factors…e.g. a situation when normally the brake would be applied, like pulling into a parking space etc. and/or a bad driver. You profession did the same thing to Audi years ago and now gives passes to the Chevy Volt battery burning, The Ford 150 (read “No Brake”) Are your reporters just stupid or prejudice? All cars, American or foreign have the same type of electronics and the same type of people hit the gas when they should be stepping on the brake just like the woman on your show when she was in a situation that required her to step on the brake i.e. pulling into a parking space. That isn’t a coincidence. As a lawyer myself I have to believe that show was trial lawyer driven to try to gain an advantage and force a settlement to obtain large fees at the expense of the public as anyone can see it is completely bias based on the few minutes you gave the Toyota engineer and the failure of the reporter to ask the woman with the Lexis a few pointed questions consistent to the issues stated above. Like madam out of all the Toyota’s (millions) with no problems (to the contrary known as the most reliable cars and trucks) you had the car for 7000 miles…no problem and in fairness you pulled into a parking space where there was a need to step on the brake and “by coincidence” at that point you were supposed to be stepping on the brake your car took off. (not to mention the fact that the computer showed she mistakenly stepped on the gas peddle). one plus one is two not five. This is a classic case of driver error and there are plenty of honest people at CNN that know this. CNN has a lot of smart people working for them. Why don’t you do a story on the political and legal self serving attempts to distort the facts and scare the public into hurting Toyota for political and legal gain. Who would know better about the distortions than you. I would love to have honest CNN comments about this. I hope you can bury your pride and admit you were wrong although I doubt you have the self confidence to do so. That segment showed me and many I have spoken with that your show and its reporters are intellectually dishonest. Shame on you CNN!!!

  2. Asha says:
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    Hi,

    First of all Really a “Big Thank You for CNN” to bring this topic back into Public again.

    I had an accident last Sunday with my Toyota Camry 2007 (my series of Toyota Camry was excluded from the recall list which came on 2007 and hence I was using my car for last 5 yrs and car mileage was around 47000 miles and I never had any problem with my car until I had this accident). Personally I don’t have any problem with Toyota as I am not at all into Automobile Business, but I really wish and pray Toyota to fix their accelerator problem than taking chances on Innocent people’s life. Let me explain my accident for getting clear picture about the problem which I faced.I parked my Toyota camry infront of BOA as normal(didn’t feel any problem while parking my car). When I wanted to go back put my car in Reverse and release my legs from the break. My car didn’t move at all..which was surprising to me!! and then I decided to accelerate while keeping my car gear in Reverse position and the car went too much back than usual which scared me a lot and was thinking why accelerating a bit made car to go a long distance than usual. Then I decided to check how car moves when I acelerate in Fwd position. I was double careful as I had bad experience in accelerating my car in Reverse position. As soon as I accelerated a very little bit in Fwd psoiion, I felt my car was just flying , went and hit BOA light post I couldn’t stop the car just by breaking and my car went and hit a tree. Thank God, there was a tree just in front of the BOA before the ongoing traffic road and I was survived. I am really shocked, scared and worried about this unintentional accelerator problm. I am pretty sure its because of the unintentional accelerator Problem. One should really experience it to understand how bad exactly that situation was. My Car Insurance company is yet to get Expert level confirmation on the accelerator problem. Will keep you guys posted!!

  3. FRANKOK says:
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    Over 300 reported incidents to the NHTSA in 2011 even after the recalls. I still believe Toyotas have RARE sudden acceleration due to two simultaneous electronic glitches. One recent one found was tin whiskers in solder joints. Brake override was part of the fix in many and is in all new Toyotas. I believe Toyota was installing it for free even for those not recalled. There is no way drivers were just using the wrong pedal. Why so many Toyotas and hardly any for GM’s per vehicle sold?
    The big CA trial is to have 10 experts analyze the secret Toyota code – NASA didn’t have it so we’ll see. I still can’t understand how a floor mat would entrap the pedal entirely down to the floor as supposedly happened in the Saylor case.

    NASA’s Kirsch summarized the redacted NASA reports – from last page in:
    onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/UA/030311Kirsch.pdf
    NASA detailed analysis and testing did not find evidence that malfunctions in electronic throttle control caused large unintended accelerations, as described by some consumer reports.
    NASA found a way that the electronic throttle control can fail, that combined with driver input, can cause the throttle to jump to 15 degrees open, but consumer reports of this condition is very low and it leaves evidence of occurrence.
    NASA found ways that the electronic throttle control can fail that results in small throttle openings up to 5 degrees.”