Toyota Sudden Acceleration Issues Exposed by a Translator

Toyota Sudden Acceleration Issues Exposed by a Translator

The beginning of the Toyota crisis began with Mark Saylor, who was driving with his family on a California highway. Saylor was driving a rental car, while his Lexus 250 was in the shop for servicing. While on their way to San Diego for an outing, the car unexpectedly took off, and the brakes were not even slowing the speed. Saylors’ brother-in-law called 911 as they quickly approached the end of the freeway and a T-shaped intersection. When the car reached the intersection it hit another car, flew into a fence, and rolled onto a field before bursting into flames.

Although this was not the first unintended acceleration for Toyota, it was the event that spurred the ongoing crisis. Toyota has claimed shifting floor mats were the cause of most of the related accidents. Later, the company stated that they found that some of the pedals were manufactured by a third party, and that the pedals were prone to sticking. Then Toyota said that many of these accidents were caused by drivers who stepped on the gas instead of the brake.

Previously the National Traffic and Highway Safety Administration had been known to pin the defects on driver error after Saylor’s accident, they started to crack down which resulted in Toyota recalling more than 8 million cars. Things seemed as if they were calming down. Sales went up, test showed that Toyota’s vehicles were safe, and last year the company earned back its status as world leader in car sales.

Many experts are still not buying it. A large number of internal documents were obtained by Betsy Benjaminson who translated Toyota documents from the Japanese. The experts agree, after seeing these documents that Toyota identified and concealed an electronic defect that led to crashes.

Benjaminson, is a freelancer who works for translating agencies based in the United States. Benjaminson started to work on the Toyota litigation in 2010. At the time, she was unaware of the events that had taken pace in the United States. After working for some time she began to notice “odd things” in the documents. Publicly released information left out important facts and internal emails “revealed facts that directly contradicted” Toyota’s public statements. The icing on the cake for Benjaminson was when she was reading a document on complaints filed with NHTSA that was summarized the injuries and deaths. It was cynically titled “Souvenirs from NHTSA.”

Source: Corporate Counsel, David Helcher “Is Toyota Telling the Truth About Sudden Accleration” March 14, 2013.

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  1. […] Sudden acceleration is not a new issue for Toyota. There have been investigations and recalls for 10 million vehicles and several lawsuits. NHTSA even penalized Toyota $1.2 billion for hiding the information. Most of the related recalls have been related to faulty brakes, sticky gas pedals and floor mats, but Toyota has denied that it has problems with the electronic throttle controls. […]

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