Sudden unexplained acceleration in motor vehicles

Unintended Acceleration in Motor Vehicles

SUA and Ford’s “False” Testimony

Sudden unintended acceleration, also known as SUA can be described as sudden, unintended and uncontrollable acceleration of your motor vehicle.

According to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this phenomenon found in motor vehicles, “is solely caused by drivers hitting the wrong pedal and mechanical causes, such as pedal entrapment and bound Bowden cables.”

While this idea is generally accepted today, William T. Swigert, the Senior Judge of the Florida’s Fifth Judicial Circuit, chose to disregard this conventional theory.

On March 12, 2012 the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers filed a “friend of the court brief” to head off a “potentially disastrous breach: (Safety and Research Strategies) in the auto industry’s carefully constructed theory around the causes of sudden unintended acceleration (SUA), all having to do with information Swigert obtained from a case which took place way back in 1980.

According to Safety and Research Strategies, Inc.:

William T. Swigert, the Senior Judge of the Florida’s Fifth Judicial Circuit, had no respect for industry/government mythology. He set aside a jury verdict in favor of Ford Motor Company, after deciding that Ford’s victory in Stimpson v. Ford was won with “false and misleading” testimony and defrauded the federal government to boot, by claiming that it knew of no other cause of unintended acceleration than driver error and concealing years of testing that showed that electromagnetic interference was a frequent root cause of “SUA” in Ford vehicles.

The reason behind this, “lack of respect” from Swigert stems from a case from 1980 in which Ford decided to keep information hidden about other causes of “SUA” during that time in history:

Ford, which knew that interactions between the engine and cruise control electronics were contributing to sudden accelerations, elected to keep on the down-low its knowledge about how switches in the cruise control system were vulnerable at gear engagement to a current spike from electromagnetic interference that could bypass the control logic and induce the servo to pull the throttle wide open.

Pedal to the Metal – Toyota Announces another Recall

In the last week of June, 2012, Toyota announced a floor mat recall.  This recall, much like other ones, has to do with the driver seat floor mat, and affects the 154,000 model year 2010 Lexus RX350 and RX450 H.  Toyota’s fifth recall on these mats since 2005 leaves speculation for other vehicles as well. This recall is a direct result of the accelerator pedal getting stuck due to an unsecured or incompatible driver’s floor mat.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 154,036 cars filed documents for the recall.According to Safety Research and Strategies, Inc:

We have carefully reviewed the 2010 RX350 speed control complaints and we noticed something pretty interesting. Drivers were reporting that during the unintended acceleration event, the “brake failure” telltale on the dash was lit up.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the recall affects vehicles built from November 28, 2008, through September 1, 2010.  Toyota has recalled over 14 million vehicles since 2009.  With this being the fifth recall for floor mats, Toyota is facing major scrutiny over its safety and quality.

Toyota has spent millions to fix these recalls and take care of future safety issues.  New brake systems and system software have been a priority for Toyota.  These Lexus owners will receive notification of the recall by August.  That could be too late for some drivers.  Anyone with the affected vehicle can go to their local Lexus dealer and get the problem taken care of at no expense to the driver.

Protecting yourself in these cases is important since car accidents can lead to personal injury. If your car had a recall, do you know how ensure it is properly fixed and your safety is not at risk? Educate yourself and stay involved with your car company to make sure that you are protecting the people inside your car. Trained lawyers have the knowledge and can help you navigate legal hurdles if you or a loved one has been injured as a result of sudden unintended acceleration.

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