Thursday, May 8, 2014

Government the "Toyota Way"

A government serving the interests of the public would be sending Toyota executives to prison. Instead, consumers are confronted with corporate-controlled thugs refusing to acknowledge - publicly, at least - compelling evidence of electronic defects in the Recall King's throttle control. So what if people get injured or killed? Isn't it ridiculous when taspayers have reason to doubt the government's story of what the terms were when a crook like Toyota handed over $1.2 billion in payola to end a federal criminal investigation? Toyota is notorious for confidentiality agreements, and nobody can be blamed for wondering if an admission of covering up electronic defects associated with unintended acceleration was part of the deal Toyota cut with the feds.

First off, there was the weird language used by mainstream media, "hinting" that Toyota had admitted to covering up electronic defects. Then the feds exhibited a high-handed attitude when confronted with evidence of electronic defects in Toyota's throttle control. Now, claims are being made that Toyota's billion dollar federal criminal settlement did in fact have to do with concealing electronic defects in its throttle control. At least two attorneys, and an Orlando TV station have come right out and said so. One of the attorneys is the highly prominent Bob Hilliard, currently representing unjustly imprisoned Toyota driver Koua Fong Lee. Furthermore, two of the news reports addressed Toyota's criminal settlement in the context of reporting a fatal crash strongly suggestive of electronically-induced unintended acceleration. It's beginning to look like the public has been lied to - not only by NHTSA - but also by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Don't be misled by the government's mainstream media stooges. Unintended acceleration events are continuing - probably on a larger scale than most folks realize - and it's a hoot the way news media avoids divulging too many details - such as a vehicle's model and year - when accidents are reported. Cases suggesting electronically-induced unintended acceleration pop up constantly, such as this 5/3/2014 mishap in Natick, Massachusettes. The vehicle's year wasn't reported, but it was a Toyota Camry. And it's amazing the way accident investigators are usually so quick to consider every conceivable possibility - dutifully reported by the news media - except an electronic problem. Of course, as word spreads regarding evidence of electronic issues, the tune seems to be changing. Exceptionally well-credentialed electrical engineer Dr. Antony Anderson - as part of his recent study published in the prestigious IEEE Access - estimates that 10,000 unintended acceleration events occur worldwide each year. In fact, so many vehicles are crashing into public buildings that the issue of storefront safety is now being addressed by non-profit organizations. Problem is, amidst government efforts to keep things quiet, these well-intentioned groups are failing to address compelling evidence of electronic issues while admirably encouraging the installation of safety barriers.

Granted, storefront crashes are caused by a variety of things, and nobody knows what percentage of these crashes are caused by electronically-induced unintended acceleration. But the mere fact that parking is involved is enough to raise eyebrows. Accounts of unintended acceleration events show some common denominators. Most of these events begin at a slow speed, driver's foot likely on the brake pedal when the unintended acceleration starts. Events occurring in parking lots, driveways, and garages are typical, as evidenced by today's report of a Camry crashing into a home in Rochester, New Hampshire last night. Embedded systems expert Michael Barr addressed this situation in testimony that won the landmark lawsuit against Toyota last October in Oklahoma. He found that a driver in such a situation would have to remove their foot from the brake pedal and instantaneously reapply pressure to stand any chance at all of stopping the vehicle. With only seconds to spare before a collision, it's unlikely that enough pressure could be applied quickly enough to avoid a crash. Elderly drivers are at even more of a disadvantage, because extra forceful pedal pressure is required. Let's review once again (see trade journal EDN Network's article, "Toyota's killer firmware: Bad design and its consequences") what Mr. Barr concluded:

>  Toyota's electronic throttle control system (ETCS) source code is of unreasonable quality.
>  Toyota's source code is defective and contains bugs, including bugs that can cause unintended acceleration (UA)
>  Code-quality metrics predict presence of additional bugs.
>  Toyota's fail safes are defective and inadequate (referring to them as a 'house of cards' safety architecture).
>  Misbehaviours of Toyota's ETCS are a cause of UA.

It's a shame when the public has to depend on a few trade journals for information about what led a jury to find a crook like Toyota guilty of reckless disregard in the design of its electronic throttle control. Take a look at yesterday's EE Times article, "Video: Michael Barr Speaks of Software That Kills."

The government - Repukes and Demagogues alike - isn't ignorant. Or underfunded. Or merely inefficient. The government is crooked. Enter NHTSA's big lie that NASA had ruled out electronics as a cause of unintended acceleration in Toyotas. Enter NHTSA's complicity in allowing GM to avoid recalling millions of units for defective ignition switches, ignoring evidence of a problem, including deadly crashes. Driving the point home, NASA physicist Henning Leidecker is warning of increased risk of unintended acceleration in '02-'06 Camrys due to "tin whiskers" in the throttle control. The models Dr. Leidecker are concerned about have one of the highest rates of unintended acceleration. And never mind that Toyota's unintended acceleration events increased dramatically after the company introduced electronic throttle controls in 2002.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what's going on as the government now wrings its blood-drenched hands over GM's ignition switch scandal. Not to worry. Ol' Sammy's "Justice Department" will make sure, Toyota style, that nobody at GM - not to mention NHTSA - winds up in prison. Meanwhile, as Toyota rushes to settle hundreds of remaining unintended acceleration cases, the tax-paying public is left to wonder if the Recall King has corrected the problems Mr. Barr found in the automaker's electronics.

It takes gall for NHTSA and Toyota to say that the increased risk of unintended acceleration in '02-'06 Camrys isn't enough to warrant public concern. And it's downright insulting when the "Justice Department" simply refuses to comment when questioned about Michael Barr's findings. How much longer are Americans gonna put up with a government - Repukes and Demagogues alike - that lies with impunity, thumbs its ugly nose at anyone who dares to ask justifiable questions, and allows crooks like Toyota and GM to treat people like dirt?