April 5, 2011

Toyota not at fault for sudden acceleration

CARS - Toyota has won a landmark court case in New York regarding alleged incidents of sudden acceleration, as the first case related to the issue goes to trial and Toyota is found not at fault.

A federal jury in New York, ruled last Friday that Toyota wasn’t at fault for causing a 2005 Scion to suddenly accelerate and crash into a tree. The accident was the fault of the driver, Amir Sitafalwalla. It had nothing to do with the brake system or the floor mat.

The jury deliberated for less than an hour and returned with a not guilty verdict.

“It was all about how the mat came into play and obviously it didn’t,” explains juror Penny Overbeck, 38, of New York, after the verdict was delivered.

Overbeck says that the court went over all the theories regarding floor mats and the electronic throttle control system, but those theories were dismissed as rubbish because of “all the testing Toyota did. They had it all on video. It pretty much explained it.”

Dr. Sitafalwalla, an emergency room physician, claimed that an unsecured driver’s side floor mat caused his Toyota Scion to crash in August 2005.

An expert testifying also claimed the electronic throttle control system could have caused the accident, but later withdrew the statement after admitting they didn't have any evidence.

Thus, if it wasn't the floor mat, and if there wasn't anything wrong with the car's brakes or acceleration... then the only answer left is driver error.

A similar case was dismissed last year when it was determined that a driver in California had been faking it in an effort to get attention.

Following the incidents Toyota recalled 1.7 million vehicles in 2009 for testing to determine if there was anything wrong with the cars.

Toyota is currently the world's largest automaker and sold 8.42 million vehicles globally in 2010, beating even General Motors and other big automakers for 3 years now. It is currently facing hundreds of lawsuits from people claiming they experienced sudden unintended acceleration, lawsuits which Toyota intends to vigorously defend against.

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