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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Another runaway RAV4 - my comments blocked

My 6/3/2014 post addressed the spectacular crash - caught on video - of a runaway RAV4 plowing into New York's Finkelstein Memorial Library from the parking lot.

Few days ago, there was another runaway RAV4 speeding out of control from a parking lot, this time crashing into a public building in Towson, Maryland. Mainstream media has been very careful not to discuss what the driver said happened, and Baltimore's WBAL-TV repeatedly blocked by comments exposing electronics issues associated with unintended acceleration.

In a situation raising concerns of electronic defects, cops have charged the 48-year-old RAV4 driver with "failure to control speed to avoid a collision," which, as cops know or certainly should know, is a tough rap to beat since black box (EDR) data has been shown to be unreliable when it comes to detecting instances of electronic malfunctions in throttle controls. As electrical engineer Dr. Antony Anderson says, "Absence of proof is not proof of absence," and it's worth noting that neither of these RAV4 crashes involved elderly drivers. My (blocked) remarks went something like this:

Maybe the cops should check with a few carwashes, since at least one has been keeping a list of vehicles subject to unintended acceleration. And I wish WBAL would tell us what the driver of the RAV4 said happened. Read "Toyota's killer firmware: Bad design and its consequences." Embedded systems expert Michael Barr found electronic defects galore, resulting in a guilty verdict in the landmark unintended acceleration case last October in Oklahoma:

* 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.

While runaway vehicles most often involve Toyotas, Mr. Barr's findings raise questions about the reliability of electronic throttle controls in all brands. Drivers attempting to park or exit parking spaces is the most frequent setting for events that suggest electronic defects. While such events can happen at any time, the usual scenario is characterized by very low speed, driver's foot likely on the brake, when the vehicle suddenly takes off like a rocket. As the auto industry - supported by its friends at NHTSA - tries to delay being required to implement failsafes mandated for years in the airline industry, vehicles crashing into buildings from parking lots has reached epidemic proportions. I've been blogging about the electronics issue - search "Beware of Toyota. Their next victim may be YOU..."

When I tried to post the comment, a message advised me to "hold on" while my comment awaited approval. Next day, the comment hadn't appeared so I submitted a followup, which, of course, was not published nor did I expect it to be:

C'mon, WBAL. Quit censoring my comments exposing electronics issues associated with unintended acceleration, especially in Toyotas. And tell us what the DRIVER of the RAV4 said happened. This corporate-controlled government and its mainstream media stooges sure get nervous when the truth comes out. Visit my blog, "Beware of Toyota. Their next victim may be YOU..."

WBAL - as is usually the case in news coverage of these types of accidents - seems afraid to mention the likelihood of electronic defects causing vehicles to speed out of control, especially in parking lots. And I'd be willing to bet that's the reason driver accounts of what happened are usually missing from these "stories." Driver statements might alert the public to a pattern and focus attention on defective electronic throttle controls instead of "driver error." Folks might start to suspect that the government is just a front for crooked corporate interests...

Meanwhile, admitted-crook Toyota has gone into tantrum mode over folks spreading the word about evidence pointing to electronic defects causing unintended acceleration. A court is allowing a gang of Toyota's pricey, big shot attorneys to harass Toyota whistleblower Betsy Benjaminson by issuing a subpoena requiring the single mother of four to travel over 7,000 miles for a deposition on 8/20/2014. She's been ordered to produce a number of documents and reveal all communications she had with 20 people, many of whom have taken high profile positions claiming Toyota's unintended acceleration problems are associated with electronic defects. Toyota's targets include folks who helped thwart the government's efforts at a news blackout regarding Michael Barr's findings, such as EE Times journalist Junko Yoshida and outspoken electrical engineer Dr. Antony Anderson. Also named is NASA physicist Dr. Henning Leidecker. He embarassed not only Toyota but also NHTSA by daring to warn the public of increased risk of unintended acceleration in '02-'06 Camrys due to "tin whiskers" growing in the pedal sensors.

Nuthin' like freedom of speech.

Update 8/4/2014 - Attorneys who won the landmark unintended acceleration case against Toyota last October in Oklahoma have been nominated for the 2014 Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year award. MUST SEE video: Their law firm's founder, Jere Beasley, says "We had internal e-mails from Toyota where they were admitting that they had problems with the computer system."  

Update 8/6/2014 - Yesterday's article, "Evidence Toyota Knew of Defective Break Override System Allowed in Florida Man’s Catastrophic Vehicular Injury Trial"