Toyota’s Unintended Acceleration Vehicle Defect

Iowa Senator Raising his Concern Towards more Government Investigation

Toyota’s Unintended Acceleration Vehicle Defect

Toyota’s sudden unintended acceleration claims have been in the news for a long time. The Law office of E. Todd Tracy has filed on behalf of injured parties alleging that Toyota’s design defect was a direct cause of severe injuries in frontal, side, and rollover accidents. In 2011, the United States Government invested $1.5 million dollars for NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) hardware and software engineers to evaluate the potential for electronic defects or programming code error had caused unwanted sudden acceleration events. It took them 10-months to come up with their finding that there is no evidence that these defects exist. They concluded that the defects that could cause sudden unintended acceleration were mechanical in nature, and not related to the computerized acceleration contols.  Recently, Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa raised even more concern about Toyota’s systems and is pushing for more government investigation of the cause of Toyota’s sudden unintended acceleration.

It has always been E. Todd Tracy’s belief that there is something deeper to this issue.  The reaction of the media, Toyota and the government itself can be indicators.  Toyota ran ads claiming to spend 1 million dollars per day for the safety of their consumers.  It is assumed that they spent this money to try and find the defect within their own systems, their own software code and their own hardware.   This went on for weeks and weeks.  Then  NHTSA spends 1.5 million dollars with NASA and concluded “No Defect”

The Iowa Senator is questioning Toyota after he received information from whistle-blowers about the NHTSA and NASA investigation.  From that, the Senator apparently thinks the investigation might not have been deep enough to actually find out the real defect.   Senator Grassley sent a letter on Thursday, July 12, 2012 to NHTSA. In the letter, the Senator asked David Strickland of NHTSA to provide detailed information about the investigation.

The Senator has further clarified that Toyota’s woes may be due to metal whiskering.  Metal whiskering, also known as tin whiskering is a fault that occurs in electrical devices due to the use of pure or nearly pure tin solder in the electrical device production.  The problem with metal whiskering is that it can short circuit the electrical boards because of small metal hairs that can  grow between metal solder pads over time.  Strangely enough this phenomenon has been know for many decades.   It was already identified and documented in early 20th century.  The common solution is to add lead in the tin solder production.

Was there a metal whiskering defect that caused Toyota’s sudden and unintended acceleration? Only time will tell.   NHTSA is reviewing the Senator’s requests, whereas Toyota has already dismissed Senator’s concern with this general statement, “There is no problem with the electronic throttle control systems in Toyota vehicles — and all the scientific evidence confirms it”.

Toyota has already recalled 4.4 million vehicles concerning the floor mat problem and millions more fixing sticking gas pedals.

Senator Grassley’s  belief  that NASA reported the evidence of tin whiskers in a Toyota pedal assembly that caused short circuit and that, the cause and effect of its failure would lead to unintended vehicle acceleration.  Toyota Motor Corp. however, is defending itself by stating  that the tin whiskers can hardly be seen in their manufacturing processes.   Toyota also claims that in the event of their board level solder connections actually forming tin whiskers, it is very unlikely that they would connect to other adjacent circuits within their designs causing acceleration of the vehicle without the intention of the driver of the vehicle.

The Tracy Firm has been involved with many cases that involved Toyota’s sudden unintended vehicle acceleration.  Two years ago, vehicle safety Attorney Todd Tracy said, “I will continue pursuing Toyota and all other vehicle manufacturers on all aspects of vehicle crashworthiness which is the science of preventing and minimizing serious injuries and deaths following an accident through the use of vehicle safety systems“.   He further acknowledged, “I have devoted my career to pushing for safety standards that now equip vehicles with better airbags, stronger roofs and seats, better fitting seatbelts, and structural protection for passenger compartments, so that, more people survive the impact of crashes.”

The TRACY Firm looks forward to the result of Senator Grassley’s effort to re-open this investigation.

Sources: Los Angeles Times, and The Tracy Firm