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6/11/2014 - Updated the original post by entering direct links to reference material, and added remarks about the legal issues involved with...

Monday, April 14, 2014

NASA physicist warns of unintended acceleration risk in '02-'06 Camrys

"A case of a Toyota with galloping acceleration — but not a fully open throttle — was attributed to tin whiskers. And Leidecker pointed out that Toyota redesigned its pedal sensor in 2007 and again in 2008, expressly to eliminate the risk of tin whiskers. Why would it do that if tin whiskers were never a problem? he asked. Toyota did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Leidecker said he believes the tin whisker risk remains for Toyotas in model years 2002-2006. While the risk is small, it increases with time. 'It’s a game of Russian roulette,' he said."
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 4/5/2014 article, "A Carbondale professor, runaway Toyotas, and the hunt for 'tin whiskers'" 

So you'd think Toyota, NHTSA and the Department of Justice would be anxious to learn more. You'd think Toyota would be concerned enough to advise Camry owners accordingly, and issue a recall for those models to update the pedal sensors.

But you'd be wrong.

Instead, our tacky little corporate-controlled government and its good friend Toyota are trying to keep things quiet about any electronics involvement in the unintended acceleration scandal. So when the St. Louis Post-Dispatch repeatedly asked Toyota to comment on Dr. Leidecker's remarks, the Recall King - in typical, highhanded, "Toyota Way" fashion - smugly refused to respond. Reminds ya of the "Department of Justice" e-mailing a curt "No comment" when trade journal EE Times' freelance writer David Benjamin asked 'em if they'd ever heard of embedded systems expert Michael Barr finding bugs in Toyota's electronic throttle control. Congress has done no more than display some grand theatrics, and NHTSA (No Help To Solve Anything) had the unmitigated gall to bow out of the unintended acceleration issue by broadcasting the now-obvious lie that NASA had ruled out electronics.

"No comment" indeed. Not to mention lies.

People's lives are at stake. Compelling evidence of defects in Toyota's electronic throttle control has been produced. How dare this corporate-controlled slob of a government - Repukes and Demagogues alike - and its good friend Toyota remain aloof. Refuse to even acknowledge the issue, and have its mainstream-media stooges do likewise. In what sense do we have a free press when consumers have to depend on trade journals to reveal the facts? The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is to be commended for daring to take a step in the right direction.

The scam regarding '02-'06 Camrys is apparent in this interview with the owner of a 2005 model, justifiably unhappy with the chump change she got in Toyota's much-ballyhooed billion dollar, class-action economic loss settlement. Toyota (!) "never determined that sudden acceleration was the reason her vehicle crashed." Never mind, of course, that '02-'06 Camrys have an exceptionally high rate of unintended acceleration complaints.   

Talk about a racket.

BIG BUCKS for attorneys. CHUMP CHANGE AND BALD-FACED LIES for consumers, who never shoulda had to file lawsuits in the first place. Worse yet, much of Toyota's "settlement" money is earmarked for "safety research" that blames drivers for unintended acceleration. Settlements the "Toyota Way" cleverly promote the myth of driver error, while creating a database of misleading information that the Recall King can blabber about in future cases of runaway Toyotas.

It's about time consumers demanded a bit of fundamental fairness outta dishonest corporate slobs like Toyota, GM, and their government mouthpieces.

Update 4/18/2014 - The '05 Camry case referenced below targeted "tin whiskers" and software. No wonder the Recall King reached a settlement :-)

Update 4/17/2014 -
This just in: "Attorney: Family of dead motorist, Toyota reach settlement in Flint sudden acceleration suit." As word of Dr. Leidecker's concern leaks out, Toyota is probably in a BIG hurry to settle as many lawsuits as possible involving '02-'06 Camrys. NHTSA, where are ya? 
>  Found some background on the above case. One of the victim's children summed things up quite well: "The 2005 Camry should have been one of the first ones to be in the recall," said Lilia Alberto. "How many more deaths do they want to have before they have to put it in the recall?"
>  This 2/8/10 article shows that Toyota's electronic throttle control was blamed from the get go. "Eric Synder, a lawyer for the family, told the Times, 'We think Toyota has a safety problem with the electronic throttle control system in Camrys and other Toyota models."' 
>  One more background article - from 6/1/12 - aptly titled "Toyota Owners Forced to Continue Driving Ticking Time Bombs"

Update 4/15/2014 - A German firm has published some interesting revelations about tin whiskers: http://www.dguv.de/ifa/Praxishilfen/Zinnwhisker-auf-Leiterplatten/index-2.jsp