Toyota's sales seem to have rebounded from the unintended acceleration issues from 2009 and 2010, but the automaker is far from done dealing with this situation. Following a settlement worth up to $1.4 billion for economic loss to affected vehicle owners, Toyota has settled rather than going to trial in a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from an accident in Utah in 2010 that left two passengers dead. This isn't the first case in which Toyota has settled, but it was the first among a consolidated group of cases being held in Santa Ana, CA.

According to The Detroit News, this case was scheduled to take place next month, and it was for a November 2010 incident in which Paul Van Alfen and Charlene James Lloyd were killed in a Camry when, based on findings by the Utah Highway Patrol, the accelerator got stuck causing the car to speed out of control and hit a wall; the terms of the settlement were not announced.

The article says that while Toyota will settle on some cases, it doesn't plan on settling on all of them as it still wants to be able to "defend [its] product at trial." This will probably be the case in suits claiming that software for the drive-by-wire accelerator was the cause of an accident in a Toyota or Lexus vehicle. The question of whether or not the electronic accelerator played any role in this problem has been a hot-button topic since the beginning. Toyota has issued recalls in the past to attempt to prevent unintended acceleration caused by trapped floor mats and faulty accelerator pedals, but it also says driver error was to blame in some instances.


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  • 49 Comments
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        kevsflanagan
        • 1 Year Ago
        Part of me suspects that Toyota settled after doing the math of fighting the case and winning versus settling decided it was cheaper to just settle. I'm unsure what they were suing for but say it would cost them 2mil to fight but the family only wanted 1mil, settle and move on while saving some money.
        BK
        • 1 Year Ago
        You don't even need to flip it into neutral. I think it was Car and Driver who did a test to show that even cars with a lot of power (in this case a Mustang Shelby GT500) can't overcome the force of the brakes. So a Camry with a 180 HP four cylinder can be stopped by its brakes even at WOT.
          Mondrell
          • 1 Year Ago
          @BK
          C&D actually tested three cars, one of which was a like-generation Camry SE V6. The brakes succeeded at completely halting attempts to continue accelerating at 70 and 100 mph, but experienced thermal failure during a 120 mph run (they had nothing left at 10 mph). Taking the car out of drive will lessen the likelihood of that, which the average road car is apt to be more prone to.
          NightFlight
          • 1 Year Ago
          @BK
          Because American drivers are stupid.
        askroon
        • 1 Year Ago
        "If your car won't slow down, you can firmly push the brake without stepping off, turn off the car, or shift to neutral." Not if the onboard computer won't let you. The cars in question are drive-by-wire. And the sticky pedal/floor mat issue is just as much a speculation as the electronics-based SUA is. All we KNOW is: - people disproportionately died, were injured, or involved in collisions in drive-by-wire Toyotas and Lexuses in SUA-like circumstances - many witnesses and those involved claimed under oath that there was no human error - Toyota and Lexus reflashed computers on any car that came in for service without the knowledge or approval of the owners immediately following the spate of SUA cases - Toyota wants to settle (an admission that the chances of winning the case are slim) and get this behind them
          BK
          • 1 Year Ago
          @askroon
          Doesn't matter if they are drive by wire. Brake force alone is enough to overcome the power of the engine.
          askroon
          • 1 Year Ago
          @askroon
          @BK and I say again... If the computer decided that you shouldn't be pressing the brake right now, it could decide to disregard that action on your part. Remember Toyota did not have brake override technology on its cars back then (a technology that is now government-mandated).
          photofill
          • 1 Year Ago
          @askroon
          @superchan7 ... the brake pedal is not really mechanically linked. The brakes are hydraulically controlled with a booster pump. Try using your brakes when the car is off, they don't work very well (same with steering for that matter). There are other controls that will limit brake pressure (ex: ABS) without the control of the driver. I'm not saying this is the cause for this, just saying askroon has a valid point.
        dukeisduke
        • 1 Year Ago
        I hear you. I'm sorry that people died, but how hard is it to push the shifter forward into neutral, get on the brakes, stop the car, and shut off the ignition?
          piggybox
          • 1 Year Ago
          @dukeisduke
          I guess because most drivers in US only know how to drive automatic. They've probably never used neutral until too late.
        MJC
        • 1 Year Ago
        Clearly there is evidence to indicate that the car played a role in some cases. Otherwise Toyota would not be paying settlements.
          Mondrell
          • 1 Year Ago
          @MJC
          Not necessarily. The NHTSA determined that the bulk of Audi SUA incidents in the '80s were the result of driver error, still, consumers almost drummed Audi out of the US market on bad evidence, particularly 60 Minutes' fixed demonstration.
          404 not found
          • 1 Year Ago
          @MJC
          Clearly you aren't aware that companies settle all the time with having no admission to fault or wrongdoing, otherwise you wouldn't have made such a mis-informed statement.
          superchan7
          • 1 Year Ago
          @MJC
          Toyota wants the noise to stop, and to continue with its normal business. Just as any company would do to end a long, over-winded, politicised-to-hell "story". So they basically pay the plaintiffs to be quiet.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @MJC
          [blocked]
        SloopJohnB
        • 1 Year Ago
        No they were not wrong. Virtually every car ever made can be screwed up by the driver or some other moron putting in too many mats or failing to secure the mat to the floor. Contributory negligence should have zeroed out Toyota's liability. What next...someone puts a brick on the loud pedal and then complains the car ran away? Geeze...
          kevsflanagan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @SloopJohnB
          Just wait till we have more of this "Accident Avoidance" tech in the cars we will have more suits. "I was talking on my cell phone and I still got in a Accident killing two people. I'm suing the manufacturer!"
      techie69
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hey Autoblog, enough already!! Some of you guys are pathetic when it comes to developing a topic of discussion!
        mikoprivat
        • 1 Year Ago
        @techie69
        truth hurts tooth techie, it's just like extracting that rotten, ***** molar that brings you enough dollars to get you a toyota. Get used to it, just like you got used to tooth cleaning, this is just the beginning for toyota.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @techie69
        [blocked]
          mao893kim
          • 1 Year Ago
          Yeah, that's why they're just the largest auto company in the world, because they suck. Moron
      SloopJohnB
      • 1 Year Ago
      It infuriates me when people die from stupidity, floor mats clogging floor pedals, soda bottles getting under floor pedals when you try to stop, etc. But it's even worse when their families seek to blame the car company for not foreseeing the results of their departed loved one's stupidity or ignorance. Cars are cars and they should be treated with respect...don't drive and drink #$%@#$% sodas, eat Micky D's, yap on the cell phone or play an effing trumpet while driving!! Bad on Toyota and bad on the trial lawyers for this.
        techie69
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SloopJohnB
        Its funny these problems of great driving awareness and multitasking while driving happen in America.
      alistair.dillingham
      • 1 Year Ago
      Toyota should build cars that are 99.999% moron-proof.
        NightFlight
        • 1 Year Ago
        @alistair.dillingham
        I am pretty sure they already are, like almost all vehicles. It is proof positive that we just need better driver training in the US. It should be modeled EXACTLY after what Germany does.
          alistair.dillingham
          • 1 Year Ago
          @NightFlight
          Absolutely agree with you on all your points, esp the German model. In fact, one reason the FINNS are, by far, the best drivers in the world and dominate Rally racing etc, despite their nation's tiny population (4-5 mill!) is that they have an even more demanding Driver's Ed.
          whofan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @NightFlight
          100% agree. I was stationed in Germany and they might drive like hell but you feel perfectly safe because they know what they`re doing behind the wheel. Americans driving the speeds Gremans drive would be total kaos.
        mikoprivat
        • 1 Year Ago
        @alistair.dillingham
        hey dillywilly...only morons buy toyotas, so how could toyota make their cars moron proof...what you said is an oxymoron, moron
          techie69
          • 1 Year Ago
          @mikoprivat
          I bet my salary you are candidate that fills that spot: carfan.mikoprivat, nightflight or whatever different name you take to post under. Learn first what a hyperbole is before you blabber beyond your understanding!
        techie69
        • 1 Year Ago
        @alistair.dillingham
        Its hard to be build moron proof or they will call it bland and uninteresting to drive, as matter of fact with all the nanny systems they are complaining already! Government should curb the driving privilege to the uneducated who seem to enjoy a little jab when Toyota pops-up and Autoblog profits from seeing the moron traffic pour into their site.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @alistair.dillingham
        [blocked]
        Randy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @alistair.dillingham
        They do!
      Lab Ninja
      • 1 Year Ago
      I knew Paul Van Alfen. This should be on Toyota's head.
        SloopJohnB
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Lab Ninja
        So what, because you knew him? This makes no objective sense.
      bubciak
      • 1 Year Ago
      PAY,PAY,PAY
      mikoprivat
      • 1 Year Ago
      and 57 more to come...make the pigs pay!!!
      nassau
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Toyota employees are out in force, blaming everything and everyone other than Toyota. If all they say is true, why did TOYOTA management decide to fork up $1.4 BILLION. Must be more than mats and old people.
        marv.shocker
        • 1 Year Ago
        @nassau
        Because it's easier than going to court and risking another media malaise. For a company like Toyota, 1.4 billion isn't going to hurt.
        404 not found
        • 1 Year Ago
        @nassau
        You must be new to U.S. law.
      Bryan Lund
      • 1 Year Ago
      But the guy in the 2009 accident on the San Diego freeway and his 3 loved ones were the victims of a Bob Baker Lexus employee who put floor mats from a Lexus SUV in their car. Does this seem odd to anyone else? Would any of us have caught this before driving, this mismatch of floor space under their feet when attempting to mash their brakes down? I don\'t know that we would\'ve caught it. But shouldn\'t most drivers be able to put their rig into neutral, or turn off the car\'s engine? Remember, the Lexus sedan was a pushbutton start car. One had ta be cognizant of the fact that you have to push in the button for 3 seconds to turn the motor successfully off. That is an engineering mistake that has since been fixed by Toyota. Good thing they did. It\'s true, most drivers are really pretty crappy drivers in America. All you have to do is observe how numb-skulled they are at simple things like flipping their turn signals on when they change lanes on the freeway. I mean whassup with that, anyway? This lame excuse that the reason people don\'t put their signal on because \"they\'re afraid that your car is going to beat them to the spot they want on the expressway\" just doesn\'t hold water. I mean really. How lazy-assed can we get? Put your blimin\' turn signal on when you\'re changing lanes on the freeway. Ridiculously clueless drivers in the U.S. I mean, just look at the purchase choices they make. GMC Yukons? Chevy Escalades? No wonder they can\'t put their turn signal on on the expressways!!
        Edward
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bryan Lund
        My recollection is that the driver kept pumping the brakes, thereby depleting the vacuum assist tank, which would make stopping the car almost impossible. Our drivers are awful. How many can shift an automatic transmission without looking down at the selector? How many drive two-footed, so their feet are trained to do a single job, and pedal confusion can't happen? C'mon. Wake up, or die.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bryan Lund
        [blocked]
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      How much do the lawyers get?
        alistair.dillingham
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Avinash Machado
        The Lion's Share. Are you the last person of the 312,000,000 in the USA that does not know that?
      Bryan Lund
      • 1 Year Ago
      Chevy Escalades? Speaking of goofy!! How \'bout Cadidillac Escalades?!!
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