Enter Bob Ruginess, who happened to obtain a copy of the "secret" black box (EDR) readout after his wife's Corolla sped out of control and crashed into another vehicle. More on that in a moment.
The Ruginises' Corolla had been plagued with unintended acceleration events ever since it was purchased new in 2010, and prior to the accident, the Ruginises had lodged UA complaints with their Toyota dealership. The dealership blamed the transmission.
When yet another unintended acceleration event occured, this time resulting in an accident, the Ruginises filed a claim with Toyota, whereupon Toyota sent the Event Data Recorder off to the manufacturer (Bosch) to obtain a readout. But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. There was a paperwork delay which prompted an employee at Bosch to telephone Mr. Ruginis. During the phone conversation, Mr. Ruginis asked if he could have a copy of the readout, and Bosch's employee sent him one.
Listen up, Toyota. These things happen. Plans to keep secrets do go awry. And hey, Coverup King: If there's nothing to hide, don't hide it.
The readout (see exhibit) - who woulda thought? - is consistent with Mrs. Ruginis' account of what happened: Brake on, accelerator not pressed, yet engine revs had suddenly doubled, and speed had suddenly more than doubled. Follows the usual format for the vast majority of unintended acceleration events. They begin at very slow speeds - events are usually associated with parking - when a sudden surge catches the driver by surprise.
The showdown started when Toyota's "investigative" report of Mrs. Ruginis' accident conveniently omitted the EDR data, blamed the accident on her, and denied her claim. And when the Muginises confronted Toyota about the omission, the ol' Coverup King got downright huffy, declaring that the EDR readout wasn't relevant. But instead of cowering down to such bullying tactics from an admitted crook, Mr. Ruginis - who happens to be an embedded systems expert with 35 years experience - petitioned NHTSA to launch an investigation of his case (and hundreds of other cases registering similar complaints), sent a letter to Toyota's new "Independent Safety Monitor" suggesting that Toyota had violated the terms of its federal criminal settlement by concealing the EDR data, and started talking to news media. And wouldn't ya know it? NHTSA agreed to investigate, and Toyota's new "Independent Safety Monitor" hurriedly arranged to meet with the Ruginises at their home on Wednesday of this week.
But beyond these grand theatrics, don't expect much.
Bear in mind that NHTSA broadcasted the big lie that NASA had ruled out electronics as a cause of Toyotas speeding out of control, and the auto industry stooge - complicit up to its neck in GM's ignition switch scandal - has also ignored NASA physicist Henning Leidecker's warning of increased risk of unintended acceleration in '02-'06 Camrys due to electronic defects known as "tin whiskers" growing in the pedal sensors. In Mrs. Ruginis' case, NHTSA is blabbering about a "dual pedal application," a speculation clearly at odds with the readout.
As for Toyota's new "Independent Safety Monitor," the guy was appointed by U.S. Attorney Eric Holder with input from none other than the admitted crook the guy is supposedly charged with overseeing. Holder's "Just Us" department showed its true colors earlier this year with a curt "No comment" when confronted with compelling evidence of defects galore in Toyota's electronic throttle control. Ah, the heartwarming sincerity of a corporate-controlled government...
Toyota has chimed in with blabber about "late braking," and that's a hoot. The readout shows a big increase in speed - accelerator not pressed - a split second before the brake was applied. It evidences a sudden surge that came too late to give the driver hardly any time to attempt to stop the vehicle before it crashed. "Late braking," Toyota? The evidence points to electronically-associated late surging. And after all, prior complaints had been lodged...
Real hoot seeing a corporate bully and its government cohots squirm. No court redactions of the evidence, no confidential settlements, and no mainstream media blackouts like the kinda stuff that took place October of last year when an Oklahoma jury said Toyota exhibited "'reckless disregard' for the public's safety" in the design of its electronic throttle control.
Stay tuned. This is one of several recently publicized events that evidence the involvement of electronics in cases of unintended acceleration. To find out just how big the government and industry coverup is, read Tom Murray's book, "Deadly by Design." It was published after Toyota lost the big case in Oklahoma, and puts the unintended acceleration issue in proper perspective.