Toyota has seen the inside of a courtroom several times relating to the unintended acceleration (UA) of their cars. To date, three causes have been found for unintended acceleration: a sticking accelerator pedal, entrapment of the accelerator pedal by a floormat and driver error. Of the UA cases tried thus far, none have been brought before a jury, but that’s about to change: a New York jury will hear the case of Sitafalwalla versus Toyota this week. Amir Sitafalwalla, the plaintiff, claims that his 2005 Scion accelerated without driver input until it struck a tree. Sitafalwalla’s attorney claims the incident started when his client attempted to shift the car into park, at which time the vehicle “took off”. Toyota denies the claim and points out that the Scion in question was never part of any UA recall. Furthermore, the accident happened in 2005 but the lawsuit wasn’t filed until 2008.
Since the suit was filed three years after the accident, it’s unlikely that any data could be recovered from the vehicle, even if it were located. In the absence of concrete evidence, Toyota will argue that the crash was caused by the driver mistaking the gas for the brake while shifting into park. It’s not my call to make, since I’m not a member of the jury, but I’m inclined to side with Toyota on this one. It should be interesting to see if the jury feels the same way.
Source: Left Lane News