Sudden/Unintended Accelerration

The problem of sudden or unintended acceleration has been around for over ten years now, mostly associated with Jeeps. But,  recently another of Toyota’s problems. Since about 2006, most vehicles have been equipped with something called an event data recorder (EDR) or a crash data recorder (CDR), otherwise known as a “blackbox”. These devices are programmed to record certain events just prior to and during a crash event. In order to access the recorded data, special equipment must be used. It is understood that the readers that are used are commercially available but, only from a limited source and are very expensive. It should also be noted that manufacturer’s dealers do not have these instruments (or at least are not publicly advertised). Vehicle manufacturers want to be able  to control the data in case it reveals a defect within their vehicle. As a result, if an EDR or CDR is to be read, it has to be removed from the vehicle and sent to the manufacturer unless an individual party with access to a reader can be located. If the problem of sudden acceleration is to be properly addressed, manufacturers have to come clean. If there is a problem with a vehicle, the manufacturer should take over the problem, fix it and stop trying to hide it in order to keep from being sued. The problem has been around long enough that all American manufacturers are aware of it. So much so that a little research will produce articles about GM, Ford and Chrysler making their own deals to have data recorders made and  programmed  for their vehicles. There are those that feel that the problem is the result of driver error. That is, driver’s inadvertenly step on the accelerator instead of  the brake pedal or step on both pedals at the same time. If this is what is happening, then how is that driver’s are confusing the pedals? Have manufacturer’s compacted the floor space so much that pedal location is confusing drivers? If so, isn’t this a manufacturing defect that should be addressed by the manufacturers?

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Sudden Acceleration

Recently, we were retained to investigate sudden acceleration in a 2006 Kia Sportage.  While conducting routine research, no recalls or complaints were discovered.  This case brought to mind that earlier this year, a lot of attention was given to the sudden acceleration complaints inherent in some Toyota vehicles.  This brought back memories of sudden acceleration complaints in Jeep vehicles back in the late 90s.  In fact, ABC used to air a program called Prime Time Live. During one show, they investigated sudden acceleration and determined that the brake pedal had been moved to a position which was no longer in line with the steering column and thought to cause drivers to confuse the brake pedal with the accelerator pedal.  Although, it does not appear that physical location of  the pedals is a problem, it seems that no one really knows what is causing sudden acceleration.

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