Jury Finds Toyota Not Liable in Camry Driver's Death

2006ToyotaCamry

After a string of federal penalties and settlements topping $1 billion, all pertaining to Toyota's unintended-acceleration recalls, the automaker scored a victory this week in Superior Court in Los Angeles. A jury ruled that Toyota was not liable for the death of a California woman killed in a 2009 car crash.

The suit had claimed that Noriko Uno died because her 2006 Toyota Camry lacked a brake override system when she was struck by another vehicle before hitting a telephone pole and a tree. The family was seeking $20 million in damages, saying the accident could have been averted if the Camry was equipped with brake override.

Toyota during the past three years has recalled millions of vehicles worldwide after drivers reported vehicles were surging unexpectedly. This latest verdict, handed down Thursday, was being closely watched as an indicator of how future lawsuits related to the unintended-acceleration case would play out.

"We sympathize with anyone in an accident involving one of our vehicles as well as the family and friends of Noriko Uno," Toyota said in a statement. "Regarding the verdict, we are gratified that the jury concluded the design of the 2006 Camry did not contributed to this unfortunate accident … . As an important bellwether in these state proceedings, we believe this verdict sets a significant benchmark by helping further confirm that Toyota vehicles are safe with or without brake override."

According to USA Today, the plaintiffs' attorney argued that the automaker "made safety an option instead of standard" by not installing a mechanism to override the accelerator, and it failed to warn customers of what to do if the accelerator stuck.

Related
Jury: Toyota not liable for death of Calif. Woman
(USA Today)
Toyota to Pay $29 Million Settlement in Unintended Acceleration Claims

More Safety News on Cars.com

Comments 

J

I am stupid but it is not my fault. I am going to sue someone else for my own problems...This is what is wrong with our country now...
She has no clear understanding of how the machine works and expected it never malfunctions and that is simply naive...

TH

May she rest in peace... I am a believer that everyone should learn to drive with a manual transmission (no matter what they drive later on) because that's when you learn how to really control the machine...cars are complex machines,and just thinking that the accelerator and and the brake are the only things that you need to know to move these tons of steel is just naive...and dangerous... at least, with manual cars, you learn that between the engine and the wheels, there is this little thing called the transmission and you can simply disconnect it through the clutch ... just the basics,,,but can save lives ...

Tony

Or press damn lever into neutral on AT

TH

@Tony ... fully agreed! but that's a reflex that doesn't come naturally unless you know how the car works (i.e. knowing that transmission is what connects the wheels to the engine)... so IMO, those who know how to drive a manual car would more easily have the reflex to put the AT in neutral than someone who has only driven AT the whole life

J

Tony,

It is easier if the control is an actual lever. When I am looking at those rotational dials for transmission, I can't stop to be amazed that the engineer is acting like idiots.

Tony

Most cars moved away from steering column mounted handles. But GM put it into its new large trucks. Honestly, unless your car is V-8... a 4 cyl car will not accelerate 35 to 65 in 2 seconds. so, should be plenty of time for counter measures. Besides, they tested that brake overpowers the engine any time. Real problem - person gets behind the wheel without knowing how equipment works.

J

Tony,

I mean something like the Range Rover gear selector rotational dial.

TH

@J

Agreed, it's doesn't make much sense to have a knob as a lever..... what's wrong with a traditinal lever?... plus, coming from Jag and LR, I wouldn't bet my security on their reliability.

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