• Dec 24, 2010
According to The Detroit Free Press, Toyota has agreed to settle the case in which four people died in a runaway Lexus to the tune of $10 million. The crash, which occurred in August 2009, killed an off-duty police officer, his wife, brother-in-law and daughter and set off a torrent of recalls and investigations into just how long the Japanese automaker had known about unintended acceleration issues. In this case, the accelerator was trapped by the wrong-sized floor mat, but Toyota would later recall vehicles not only with similar issues, but with pedals that could stick as well.
Originally, both Toyota and the plaintiffs wanted to have the results of the settlement sealed, though Superior Court Judge Anthony Mohr decided that the public had a right to know the details of the case, and that right outweighed arguments from both sides. As with the two civil penalties that Toyota has paid to the federal government for failing to notify safety officials of the problems in a timely manner, Toyota has not admitted any wrong doing by settling the case.

[Source: The Detroit Free Press]


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  • 35 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's a myth that all cops are good drivers. Chicago did not have in-car on-track training for years. One thing you do expect is that cops are in tight situations all the time and can stay calm and think. Maybe having the entire family in the car didn't help.

      One of the first things to do is check for obstructions, or simply yank on the mat - whether it's the mat itself or a baby bottle wedged down there. Last resort is to slow the car down by brushing up against soft things or structures that won't intrude into the car before crashing into something soft to completely stop it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Had an accelerator stuck on an older Chrysler Concorde. It stuck at 80. I stuck it in neutral and turned off the ignition. I know it was push start wrong mats etc. There was error on both ends sadly. Panic is just that. Panic and when u do so it will possibly cost you your life
      • 4 Years Ago
      Toyota is getting killed with these fines/fees they're having to pay. I'm not the worlds biggest Toyota fan in the least but it seems like every day they're getting fined millions more. Hopefully Toyota learns from this whole debacle.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think Toyota is learning. You now see Toyota having recalls on their vehicles like the other manufactures have.
      • 4 Years Ago
      $10 million for 4 lives. Amazing. Rest in peace.
      • 4 Years Ago
      @Hoff

      I'm so sorry you had to buy a Toyota.

      Rather, I'm sorry our domestic manufacturers had that pathetic a light duty truck selection that you had to buy an over-rated, over-priced, under-performing Toyota.

      Toyota (and to an extent Honda) have for years been living off the reputation they earned 15-20 years ago for being "the best quality" and have been slacking off, and letting their innovation and quality suffer as a result.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Toyota, you made your bed, now lay in it! Damn, I like Toyota but I call it as I see it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Dr. Greenthumb

        your example doesn't apply since the said Toyota dealer wasn't trying to knowingly sell cheap replacement mats instead of Lexus original equipment mats to customers to save money, they were just being negligent in their actions.

        Toyota as a " franchiser" would only be liable if it had instructions in a manual or the dealership's parts computer somewhere that indicated to use the "mismatched" mats in the Lexus loaner that caused the accident, the dealer is a privately owned and operated business, Toyota only owns the trademark and representation of its products.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Coco: Yes my example does apply, It's about damaging the "IMAGE" of the brand. I'd say Toyota's brand image is somewhat damaged by this incident, wouldn't you?"-- Dr. Greenthumb

        This is exactly the reason why Toyota agreed to pay out (even if there wasn't a single shred of evidence that Toyota vehicles indeed do on their own, accelerate uncontrollably, the media hysteria combined with false testimonies from shady and greedy individuals have tarnished their IMAGE) if this were an isolated case, they'd not have the legal legs to stand on to go after Toyota, after all, as I've indicated, it was the dealer that supplied the wrong sized mats causing the pedal to get stuck.

        "Here is an example of Corporate Lawsuits, Myth vs. Reality: You see, I knew all about the McDonald's coffee lawsuit, well I thought I did, and sided with McDonald's. Please read the attachment thoroughly and let me know if the reality differs from what we thought we knew about this case.

        I'd say there was more to the Saylor case than we think we know." -- Dr. Greenthumb

        It may surprise you but I probably side with the lady who sued McDondalds' corporate. The franchisee in this case did nothing wrong due to 2 reasons:

        1) "At the time, McDonalds’ corporate specifications explicitly called for coffee to be served at a temperature between 180 and 190 degrees Fahrenheit.

        2) "More than 700(!) claims had been made against McDonald’s, and many of the victims had suffered third-degree burns similar... Yet the company had refused to change its policy, supposedly because a consultant had recommended the high temperature as a way to maintain optimum taste.

        The franchisee was told they MUST serve the coffee at that temperature, and that's what they did, their not liable, McDonalds' corporate is liable.

        So back to Toyota then... if Toyota corporate mandated or suggested that wrong size mats CAN be used by any of the dealerships in any of their Lexus vehicles and a tragedy like this occurs, you bet Toyota is responsible, but since that isn't the case (but a case of a careless, negligent dealer/service person), Toyota isn't responsible.



        • 4 Years Ago
        do some research, Toyota should NOT be responsible for the dealer putting in wrong size mats resulting in pedal getting stuck and the driver's error for not being able to put the damn car in neutral when it did get stuck.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Coco: Yes my example does apply, It's about damaging the "IMAGE" of the brand. I'd say Toyota's brand image is somewhat damaged by this incident, wouldn't you?

        Here is an example of Corporate Lawsuits, Myth vs. Reality: You see, I knew all about the McDonald's coffee lawsuit, well I thought I did, and sided with McDonald's. Please read the attachment thoroughly and let me know if the reality differs from what we thought we knew about this case.

        I'd say there was more to the Saylor case than we think we know.

        http://www.slip-and-sue.com/the-famous-infamous-mcdonalds-coffee-spill-lawsuit-revisited/
      • 4 Years Ago
      We actually pay that. Toyota and any other manufacturer simply raise the price of the product.
      • 4 Years Ago
      A cop doesn't know enough to shift into neutral when his vehicle runs away? What does that say about their training? And locally, I've never, ever seen a city cop or county sheriff with a seat belt on. I've sure seen enough belts hooked up behind their front seats to know this is common among our heroes in blue/grey/brown/black/maroon, who are more seriously injured and raise our taxes to pay the increased insurance, but still write seat belt tickets on the rest of us.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Takes a couple seconds to understand what is going on IMO.

        Think about it. Your car is suddenly going full throttle. On a crowded highway you have maybe a second or two to react. How often does an auto trans. car driver shift into neutral? it's certainly not in muscle memory.

        So the response is to hit the brakes and try to steer the car to a safe place, rather than looking down and fumbling with the shifter.

        Yeah, i'll keep my manual transmission, thank you very much.
        • 4 Years Ago
        In this case, he drove several miles before crashing. In another case, a driver kept tapping his brakes instead of using steady pressure, thereby depleting his vacuum reservoir and reducing his brake boost so he couldn't stop.
        And, if you have hydraulic clutch actuation and your adjustment runs out, can you get your pedal down to disengage? Would you have the presence of mind to overcome the synchros and shift into neutral without the clutch? Panic overcomes judgement and training. I've advised many to rehearse the pop the shift forward to N. Did you ever see how many people can't find it without looking, no matter how many times they've driven the car?
        I'm sure you'll agree that there are some who shouldn't be on the road, but they are anyway, and those are the ones with licenses!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Mr.Ed: You do know that none of these vehicles have a mechanical linkage anymore right? If the malfunction is in the ECU no amount of shifting will do crap for you. Welcome to drive by wire. When you shift into reverse, neutral, D1, 2, etc. You're basically doing exactly what you do at your keyboard of your PC. Each position on the shifter is a pre programmed command to the ECU.

        Auto-stick, Tiptronic and all similar systems including anything with paddle-shifters are drive-by-wire systems. Your brakes is your last and sometimes only recourse.
        • 4 Years Ago
        There's a computer chip in the floor mat? No wonder these cars cost so much!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Here's the scorecard so far. Keep trying, guys:

      1. Saylor accident -- Misused rubber mat.
      2. Avalon in Texas pond -- Cause unknown.
      3. Rhonda Smith's "possessed" Lexus -- Feds bought it in March for testing, never announced results.
      4. NASA's investigation -- Nothing found.
      5. ABC News demonstration -- Redux of 60 Minutes Audi scare.
      5. "Sticky accelerator" -- Paper tiger. Blamed by the feds for zero injuries, and never captured in a single video despite 2.3 million chances.
      6. All other claims -- Either cause-unknown, driver error or driver opportunism.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Never happened. Dead? Not that I know about. Don't know about it. It was their fault. We spend gazillions on safety. No problems in our cars. You people are really stupid. Dumb old people can't drive. Do not disagree with us. Wow, what defenses.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Pants: The Saylor mat accident, was a dealer screwup. The car was a loaner that the previous driver had complained about. No one did anything about it, just flipped Saylor the keys.

        See that big red TOYOTA logo on top of that building? It says that Toyota is ultimately responsible.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Toyota should be kicked out of the US. America doesn't need Toyota. It has Ford, which makes excellent vehicles.
      • 4 Years Ago
      3 pages of comments and people are still saying uneducated comments. It is not Toyota'a fault that the dealer put the wrong mats in the car. To a certain extend, I agree that Toyota is responsible for the fine as the dealer is representing Toyota. But it is clear, at least to me, that Toyota isn't unsafe because wrong floor mats or too many mats can happen to any brands.
      Regatdless, this incident has already damaged Toyota's image. By reading all of the comments, even people who are interested on cars(or else they wont be reading a blog about cars and commented) are mixing the floor mat incident with the stick gas paddle problem, which didn't kill anyone. Imagine what it is like in the eye of the general public.

      Also, to those who said Toyota should have brake override. While it is better to have override, it is not Toyota's fault that they are allowed to sell cars without brake override.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Completely agree.

      If the driver had a brain, they would shift their automatic Lexus into neutral, and then apply the brakes creating the engine to bounce off the rev limiter, but safely bringing the vehicle to a stop.

      America - the place where Darwin's law of survival of the fittest doesn't apply, we just sue and pro-create stupidity.
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