Did Toyota Try to Mislead Public with WSJ Story?
The Wall Street Journal ran a story last week, citing sources “familiar with the findings” that indicated that NHTSA investigations into Toyota’sacceleration problems had found driver error had been to blame for most of the cases.According to the Wall Street Journal piece, federal data suggests that many drivers, who blamed defects in their Toyota for these accidents, possibly jammed the accelerator instead of slamming the brakes.
As expected, the Wall Street Journal article created a furor.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been quick to distance itself from the article.An agency representative said that the information used by the WSJ came from Toyota itself, and not from the agency.In other words, the company had planted the story in order to develop a strong case for itself against the hundreds of acceleration-related personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits it’s up against.
This week, Toyota retaliated by stressing that it had nothing to do with planting any story in the Wall Street Journal or any other media publication.According to Toyota, it’s independent investigations have revealed that so-called ”pedal misapplication” is one of the factors involved in the accident.“Pedal misapplication” is Toyota’s way of saying driver error was to blame for the accident.The company seems to be trying to build a case to blame motorists for all these accidents, and not any defects in the floor mats, accelerator or the electronic throttle control systems.
It has not been a great week for Toyota.On Tuesday, a federal grand jury subpoenaed Toyota, and ordered it to submit audit records related to steering rod defects in a 2005 recall.That comes after a federal investigation into the delay in announcing the recall.The company had recalled several models including the Toyota 4Runners from the Japanese market in 2004, for steering rod defects.The company insisted that the same problem did not exist in American Toyota models, and that there was no reason for a recall here.However a few months later in 2005, Toyota recalled approximately 977,000 vehicles in the US for the same problem.
The Atlanta personal injury lawyers at the Katz Law Firm represent injured victims of car/auto/truck accidents in the Atlanta area and across Georgia.