I wrote last week about the drastic increase of drivers who texted behind the wheel.The National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) administration found these text and drive results among U.S. drivers through various studies.
Toyota, who has been receiving criticism from both the public and federal government for several months, received another thorn in its’ side. National Highway Safety and Transportation Administration (NHSTA) Secretary, Ray LaHood, announced yesterday that they were issuing a $16 million fine against Toyota for its’ sudden acceleration and sticky pedal problems. This comes on top of hundreds of wrongful death, personal injury and class action lawsuits filed throughout the country.
“Toyota failed to live up to its legal obligations,” said Transportation Secretary LaHood.
“Worse yet, they knowingly hid a dangerous defect for months from U.S. officials, and did not take action to protect millions of drivers and their families.”
This is not good news for Toyota, which seems to be facing scrutiny on a daily basis. The good news is that Toyota will hopefully take the steps to correct the acceleration and sticky pedal problems in their vehicles.
Read the entire article from the New York Daily News here.
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The federal government continues to dig deeper into allegations of Toyota’s unintended acceleration problems. On March 30, NHSTA chairman Ray LaHood announced two (2) new studies that are being undertaken to investigate this problem. The National Academy of Sciences, will examine the broad subject of unintended acceleration and electronic vehicle controls across the entire automotive industry. Second, NASA engineers with expertise in areas such as computer controlled electronic systems, electromagnetic interference and software integrity to help tackle the issue of unintended vehicle acceleration in Toyotas.
“We are determined to get to the bottom of unintended acceleration,” said Secretary LaHood. “For the safety of the American driving public, we must do everything possible to understand what is happening. And that is why we are tapping the best minds around.”
Secretary LaHood has also asked the U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General (IG) to review whether NHTSA’s Office of Defect Investigation (ODI) has the necessary resources and systems to identify and address safety defects as it moves forward.
Both studies – from the National Academy of Sciences and from NHTSA – will be peer reviewed by scientific experts. The total cost of the two studies is expected to come to approximately $3 million, including the cost of purchasing cars that have allegedly experienced unintended acceleration to be studied.
I will be interested in hearing the results of these studies and how they will affect future wrongful death and class action litigation. And more important, how the results can be used to make vehicles safer.
Click here to read the entire press release.