Toyota is going to be back in the spotlight, as the first of its unintended acceleration lawsuits is headed for trial. This case covers a Los Angeles sushi shop owner, Noriko Uno. According to the what the family told The Detroit News, Uno only put about 10,000 miles on her 2006 Toyota Camry in four years. Uno was apparently afraid of high speeds, avoiding the freeway and taking a route home along LA's surface streets to avoid them.

On August 28, 2009, Uno's Camry suddenly accelerated to 100 miles per hour, eventually striking a telephone poll and a tree and killing her. The family contends that Uno attempted to step on the brakes and pull the emergency brake, neither of which brought her speed under control, while Toyota maintains that improperly installed floormats and driver error have been behind the majority of the 80 cases expected to be heard in court.

In Uno's case, The Detroit News is expecting the trial to focus on the lack of an override if the gas and brake pedals were pressed at the same time. Brake overrides were installed on Toyota's European fleet. The Uno family attorney will need to prove to the jury that it wasn't driver error that killed Noriko Uno.

Uno's case will be a bellwether case, which other state courts will use to predict potential outcomes for similar lawsuits. Toyota is also combating suits in federal court as well, although in most cases both sides have chosen to settle. The federal suit argues that the Camry and other models had defective electronic throttle control systems, despite denials from Toyota and investigations from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and NASA coming up empty.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 55 Comments
      Bruce Lee
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Uno was apparently afraid of high speeds, avoiding the freeway and taking a route home along LA's surface streets to avoid them." This isn't going to help her family's case that she wasn't a bad driver who mistook the gas pedal for the brake pedal...the only people I know who avoid the freeways are all really terrible drivers.
      Frankok
      • 1 Year Ago
      From another report from the AP: That same day _ Aug. 28, 2009 _ off-duty California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor and three family members were killed on a suburban San Diego freeway when their 2009 Lexus ES 350 reached speeds of more than 120 mph, struck a sport utility vehicle, launched off an embankment, rolled several times and burst into flames. A 911 call captured Saylor's brother-in-law telling the others to pray before the car crashed. Brake override would have saved Ms Uno and those in Saylor's car and Toyota from the 20 million buck secret settlement to the Saylor family. The car dealer who rented the Saylor Lexus got a bunch of grief and losses. I still believe two simultaneous glitches - perhaps one tin whiskers in solder joints and a software glitch could cause rare high speed sudden acceleration. Prof. Gilbert showed errors would not leave evidence if it happened. Get that brake override installed Toyota recall owners - it is just a software change.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      mapoftazifosho
      • 1 Year Ago
      That will be impossible to prove in court. Had the driver applied direct and constant pressure on the brake pedal, while at the same time popping the shifter into neutral...this would be a none story. Even without putting into into neutral the brakes can overpower the engine. I've had floor mat entrapment in non-toyota models and it's a momentary fright and then you just throw it into neutral...and done.
      hayato
      • 1 Year Ago
      I found it "odd' that all these unintended acceleration cases suddenly popped up all at the same time. I remember a local Prius owner attempting to cash in on this, but it couldn't be proven that his car accelerated on its own. Ever since then, its been one more case after another. I still think its strange how all these "accidents" sprang up all at once.
        graphikzking
        • 1 Year Ago
        @hayato
        I own 2 Prius'. I've tried, but the engine is SO weak that my Mountain bike tires can slow down the car with the gas fully depressed (not really.. but darn close to it.) After reading about all this, I tested it a few times, flooring the car, holding the throttle to the floor at 70 mph and hitting the brakes. It was as it the engine was not even pressed. You could hear the engine running and rpms but it doesn't have nearly enough power to override the brakes. Camry may be different - but I'd love to read the police report to see if the emergency brake lever was in the up position upon arriving at this accident. That would tell a WHOLE lot about this case.
          bbks
          • 1 Year Ago
          @graphikzking
          With Camry being FWD, activating the hand brake would mean locking the rear wheels. Long skid marks would have to be present along with the brake lever being in the up position. Wonder if that's in the police report...
      jrmosery86
      • 1 Year Ago
      "According to the what the family told The Detroit News, Uno only put about 10,000 miles on her 2006 Toyota Camry in four years. Uno was apparently afraid of high speeds, avoiding the freeway and taking a route home along LA's surface streets to avoid them". Sounds like an experienced driver to me....I'm sure there was no driver error in this case.
        clquake
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jrmosery86
        Well, from what I've heard, Uno may have been travelling faster than the freeways on those back streets during rush hour.
      dgazdfsdf badfhadf
      • 1 Year Ago
      "suddenly accelerated to 100 miles per hour" right-o
      thrutheeyesofbry
      • 1 Year Ago
      As a dealer mechanic, not for Toyota, I've seen lots of crazy things people do their cars. People are cheap and stupid. If you want a weather floor mat, buy them. Don't toss in a generic one or a household rug mat. I've seen 3 floor mats cover a drivers floor once. Why? I have no idea. I've seen customers install mats that completely cover the gas pedal. I've seen them restrict pedal movement. Scary enough for me to move them when I need to drive their car. I've seen floor mats bunched up very badly to the point they can no longer hold their original shape. 50% of the mat is bunched up at the gas pedal and customer doesn't care. I am constantly adjusting mats or getting them out of the way. And it is always on vehicles where the customer doesn't use the original mats or doesn't want to pay for the factory weather ones. I am not surprised to hear 80% of these accidents were mat problems. I won't be surprised that the other 20% isn't people being stupid.
        D E S I G N
        • 1 Year Ago
        @thrutheeyesofbry
        you've answered your own questions, they are stupid and retarded by nature. It's not their fault, just the way mother nature plays games in life. problem is most justice systems advocate this sort of behaviour, and to appease the rest of the herd, big corps like toyota will bend over and take it.
        Astutent
        • 1 Year Ago
        @thrutheeyesofbry
        I had the same problem with my aftermarket floor mats. So I drilled a hole in them so they would fit onto the post built into the floor that keeps the mats in place. Problem solved in 30 seconds
          BG
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Astutent
          Indeed, easy solution, but you had to 1. Think about the problem; 2. Plan a solution; 3. Take time out from your valuable day; 4. Act on the plan. Let's see, does this describe the regular American driver today?
      FIDTRO
      • 1 Year Ago
      Asian garbage.
        clquake
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FIDTRO
        That's not very nice, she only made sushi. Oh, the car...Made in Kentucky, I think...
          kontroll
          • 1 Year Ago
          @clquake
          made in KY as designed and dictated by the asians...are you really that stupid??? you think workers just make things willy nilly...what a brainless douche you are!!!
        • 1 Year Ago
        @FIDTRO
        [blocked]
      Greg
      • 1 Year Ago
      I hope Toyota pays big time for this. I like sushi.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Greg
        [blocked]
      bbks
      • 1 Year Ago
      If NASA can't connect the the two, I don't understand how a regular joe (or lawyers) can make a case...unless they have also sent humans to the moon and have launched numerous space crafts to other planets. IMHO.
      FutureDoc
      • 1 Year Ago
      People want the car to do "more" for them and then get uppity if there is an issue (actual or perceived). In the end, I have not heard of any unintentional acceleration issues with a true manual transmission.
    • Load More Comments