Toyota’s top executives steadfastly deny that the acceleration problems plaguing millions of Toyota and Lexus vehicles have anything to do with electronics, despite a growing body of evidence that strongly suggests electronics are actually the cause of many sudden, unintended acceleration incidents.
Recently, the widow of a man who died in Southlake, Texas, when his 2008 Avalon sped out of control in December told ABC News that she had experienced ongoing acceleration problems with the vehicle. Linda Hardy said that she took the Avalon to her dealer three times between Thanksgiving and Christmas, complaining that the vehicle would suddenly race out of control.
“I said please fix my car,” Hardy told ABC.
Each time, however, the dealer told her nothing was wrong with the car.
Then, on the day after Christmas, the Avalon sped out of control, crashed through a fence, and landed upside-down in a pond, killing Hardy’s husband and three fellow church friends who were also in the car. Investigators found that the floor mats had been removed from the vehicle and stored in the truck, which is what Toyota told owners of the recalled vehicles to do to prevent an unintended acceleration incident.
Hardy told ABC that money wouldn’t bring back her husband, but that it could help fix the problem “so no one else will die.”
Because of cases like Hardy’s, the federal government has launched a new probe of the electronics that link the gas pedal to the throttle in many Toyota models. According to Keith Armstrong, an electromagnetic interference expert called upon by the federal government as part of the federal investigation, “it’s the electronics, not the pedal,” that cause so many Toyota vehicles to speed out of control.
Armstrong’s conclusion echoes the findings of other experts who believe either a software glitch or electromagnetic interference with the cars’ microcomputers are to blame for Toyota’s sudden acceleration troubles.
Last week, a new scientific study conducted by Quality Control Systems Corporation of Crownsville, Maryland found substantial evidence that Toyota’s sudden problem is linked to Toyota electronic throttle control system (ETCS-i). The study sought to rest Toyota’s conclusion that there was “no indication” of an electronic malfunction in the recalled vehicles using data pulled from the NHTSA’s records.
That QCS report found that, contrary to Toyota’s claims, very strong indications exist that the electronic throttle system is the most probable culprit in some of Toyota’s unintended acceleration cases.
You can read the QCS report on Beasley Allen’s web site.