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#1721 of 3623 Man in Prison because of Toyota cover up???
Feb 25, 2010 (9:29 pm)
'Toyota defense' might rescue jailed Minnesota man
LINO LAKES, Minn. (AP) - Ever since his 1996 Toyota Camry shot up an interstate ramp, plowing into the back of an Oldsmobile in a horrific crash that killed three people, Koua Fong Lee insisted he had done everything he could to stop the car.
A jury didn't believe him, and a judge sentenced him to eight years in prison. But now, new revelations of safety problems with Toyotas have Lee pressing to get his case reopened and his freedom restored. Relatives of the victims - who condemned Lee at his sentencing three years ago - now believe he is innocent and are planning to sue Toyota. The prosecutor who sent Lee to prison said he thinks the case merits another look.
"I know 100 percent in my heart that I took my foot off the gas and that I was stepping on the brakes as hard as possible," Lee said in an interview Wednesday at the state prison in Lino Lakes. "When the brakes were looked at and we were told that nothing was wrong with the brakes, I was shocked."
Lee's accident is among a growing number of cases, some long resolved, that are getting new attention since Toyota admitted its problems with sudden acceleration were more extensive than originally believed. Numerous lawsuits involving Toyota accidents have been filed over the recent revelations, and attorneys expect the numbers will climb.
Lee's Camry wasn't among those subject to Toyota's recent safety recalls, but Toyota did recall some 1996 Camrys for defective cruise controls that could cause sudden acceleration.
Lee's current attorney, Brent Schafer, said several '96 Camry owners whose cars were not in the recall have filed sudden-acceleration complaints with federal regulators.
Was this one of those many TSBs that get slipped in if you bring your Toyota in for service? How far back will Toyota have to go to get a clean slate?
#1722 of 3623 Re: 27,000 miles later... [sharonkl]
Feb 25, 2010 (11:59 pm)
So can we safely say that this event sheds very little light on what the effect of shutting off the ignition is?
#1723 of 3623 Re: Congressional Investigation Hearings Today [sharonkl]
Feb 26, 2010 (6:06 am)
Sharon....I'm not an engineer. My degree is in computer science. Unfortunately, I started an MBA, but put it on indefinite hold several years ago, choosing to spend more time with my family over night classes and hours of "home time" studying. Some say I did the right thing. I does bother me from time-to-time that I never finished the MBA....maybe after I retire many years down the line (when it will do me the least good).
Overall, they've been a good corporate citizen to the local communities and to the U.S. But, P&G has their moments to make one pause with "what were they thinking?". It's definitely a different culture.....knowing a lot of their employees. You'll know a "P&G-er" when you meet one. That's not a bad thing. The reason I left Xerox after 10 years was for the same reason. I was engulfed in that culture, and didn't want to be.
Enough about me, back to Toyota. From working with them, and having friends who work with them, overall they're very secretive. For a very long while, their engineering staff used a Computer Aided Design/Engineering (CAD/CAE) tool that was developed by them alone, even though there were much better solutions in the commercial market place. They've change in recent years and do now use commercially available CAD/CAE tools. But, those tools are only good if you implement them.
I think one of Toyota's issues with relation to their current woes relates back to not doing enough CAD/CAE. They have to to get their vehicles designed. But, it's clear, in their race for expansion, that they didn't do enough. Nor, did they do enough real world testing. They can even do electronics and software simulation that would have uncovered a good portion of this issue. Clearly, they didn't do enough of that. They were in too much of a hurry to get new products out the door and onto the showroom floor.
I read most of the automotive trade rags. Usually, there's a car that someone snapped a pic of showing real world testing in remote locations for things like extreme cold or extreme heat operation for example. I've seen those tests from just about every major auto manufacturer. Can't remember ever seeing Toyota do that....ever.
I've owned Toyotas.....3 of them to be exact....one Tacoma, one Camry and one Avalon. They weren't any worse than any other brand I've owned when it comes to glitches. They weren't necessarily better, either. Maybe back in the '80s and '90s when General Motors, Ford and Chrysler were really making junk they were better. But, not now.
#1724 of 3623 Re: Congressional Investigation Hearings Today [graphicguy]
Feb 26, 2010 (6:34 am)
I've seen those tests from just about every major auto manufacturer. Can't remember ever seeing Toyota do that....ever.
Funny you should mention that. On one of my trips to Hawaii I saw the then not released Lexus RX400h being driven around the Big Island. I stopped into the local Toyota dealer in Hilo and they had no idea they were there. So was it testing or just using the testing budget on a trip to Hawaii? It seems I read later they had 6 of their new hybrid RX models in Hawaii for the press to do reviews. So it was probably advertising and not testing.
#1725 of 3623 Re: 27,000 miles later... [jdm9]
Feb 26, 2010 (6:45 am)
Rhonda Smith testified that at 35 mph, pushing the ignition button still did not shut off the ignition but at 33 mph it did shut off. There are numerous other NHTSA accounts that the electronic input to the computer to shut off the engine was being ignored. The same is true of Rhonda's experience that the electronic command from the shifter to put the car in neutral or reverse was ignored. The gas pedal's electronic input that the engine should be at idle was being ignored. Even when the car did shut off, the dash lights stayed on indicating the car was still in a confused state. When her husband put it in neutral, the car made sounds like it was trying to start again. Keep in mind that the computer controls virtually everything.
Has your PC ever locked up to a point where CTL-ALT-DEL and all other inputs are ignored? Have you ever had to hold the power button down on your laptop for a hard shutdown (which works due to a built in hardware override)? These sudden acceleration incidents are sometimes triggered at the same time that the driver taps the brake (sends an input to the computer), not the gas. If Toyota's engine control computer's confused state sets throttle to "full" and ignores further inputs, that would basically describe these incidents. The emergency advice to put the car in neutral, pull over and shut off the engine will prove futile. It only works in the demonstrations on TV because the computer is working during the demo.
#1726 of 3623 Re: 27,000 miles later... [carbuff1171]
Feb 26, 2010 (6:59 am)
Has your PC ever locked up to a point where CTL-ALT-DEL and all other inputs are ignored? Have you ever had to hold the power button down on your laptop for a hard shutdown (which works due to a built in hardware override)?
I have had those situations on almost every computer I have worked on or owned. It is either a Firmware or Software glitch. Hardware problems become evident very quickly and can be fixed. Software anomalies can and do happen. The NHTSA has said they were able to cause problems in Toyota DBW systems with EMI interference. They dropped that back in 2007. And who made that decision? Was it the employee ties shared with Toyota and the NHTSA?
#1728 of 3623 Re: Congressional Investigation Hearings Today [wwest]
Feb 26, 2010 (7:07 am)
Exactly. This point may have been made earlier, but whatever effect the brakes do originally have quickly becomes less effective as they get glowing hot from the first 1000+ feet of hard braking against a WOT.
I think it is taking a long time for it to sink in that the computer controls virtually everything and most driver actions are just "electronic requests". I am sure we will ultimately learn that Toyota has a design flaw that other manufacturers did not miss in their designs. The data log they keep talking about that saves a few seconds of information may also prove useless. In this "confused" state, who knows if the computer will have written anything meaningful to the log? Unfortunately for Toyota, finding it may require a technician to be under the hood running diagnostics while the vehicle is in that confused state racing down the highway out of control. Please see my post #1725.
#1729 of 3623 Re: Congressional Investigation Hearings Today [gagrice]
Feb 26, 2010 (7:27 am)
gagrice...the tests I've read about usually take place in harsh environments like the desert, or in the northern areas of Alaska.
I don't think Hawaii would qualify as a "harsh testing" environment....
#1730 of 3623 Re: Congressional Investigation Hearings Today [carbuff1171]
Feb 26, 2010 (7:46 am)
carbuff....I did some basic calculations in one of the posts. At 60 MPH, a car is traveling at 88 ft/sec. At WOT (or 120 MPH) you double that to 176 ft/sec. In Ms. Smith's case, even pressing the on/off button, and holding it for 3 secs, as Toyota stipulated to turn off the engine, she mentioned that the car was traveling at about 100 MPH. Rough numbers, that means she was going at least, about 100 ft/sec.
So, that being the case, holding down the on/off button (if she knew she had to hold it down for 3 secs), she was traveling the length of a football field before she realized the on/off button wasn't working. All this, while she was trying to dodge other traffic.
Brakes are going to fade pretty quickly at those speeds, and coincides with other witnesses stating that smoke and flames could be seen coming from the car.....the brakes had way overheated, and I'm sure became ineffective, very quickly. So, that debunks Toyota's statement that the brakes will always overcome acceleration.
The real question here is, how did the car slow and eventually come to a stop (after miles of this harrowing experience. We don't know...well, because Toyota didn't want to know by getting the car into their labs and finding out what happened. I'm certain that Lexus didn't want to buy the car back from them, because Lexus wouldn't agree to do so (that costs Toyota money). What's even scarier, is this car is still on the road, being driven by someone who probably has no clue about its history. So, it could happen again....to someone else. That puts not only the driver's safety in question, but also anyone else who's on the same road, at the same time.
Even at this juncture, I don't know if Lexus is trying to track the car down to get it into their labs to find out the root causes. Should be easy enough to find out by running the vin#, though.