Monday, December 26, 2016

How many more will die?

Will this be another NHTSA White Wash that costs lives, Tom?

NHTSA'S White Wash!

... Toyota had received more than 37,900 complaints concerning the ETCS, which have been installed in Toyota-brand vehicles sold in the United States since 1998....

Automakers Are Companies and Don’t Care About You

How many complaints does it take for NHTSA to act? 

Runaway Toyota cases ignored

Bulent Ezal said his Camry suddenly accelerated before it plunged off a Pismo Beach cliff in 2007, killing his wife. (Pismo Beach Police Department)

More than 1,000 Toyota and Lexus owners have reported since 2001 that their vehicles suddenly accelerated on their own, in many cases slamming into trees, parked cars and brick walls, among other obstacles, a Los Angeles Times review of federal records has found.
The crashes resulted in at least 19 deaths and scores of injuries, records show, which federal regulators say is far more than any other automaker has experienced.
Owner complaints helped trigger at least eight investigations into sudden acceleration in Toyota and Lexus vehicles by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the past seven years. Toyota recalled fewer than 100,000 vehicles in response to two of those probes, and the federal agency closed six other cases without finding a defect.
But those investigations systematically excluded or dismissed the majority of complaints by owners that their Toyota and Lexus vehicles had suddenly accelerated, sharply narrowing down the scope of the probes, the Times investigation revealed.
Federal officials eliminated broad categories of sudden acceleration complaints, including cases in which drivers said they were unable to stop runaway cars using their brakes, incidents of unintended accelerations that lasted longer than a few seconds, and reports in which owners failed to identify the possible causes of the problem.
The exclusions were used by NHTSA officials as a rationale to close at least five of the investigations without finding any defect, because — with fewer incidents to consider — the agency concluded there were not enough reported problems to warrant further inquiry. In a 2003 Lexus probe, for example, the agency threw out all but one of 37 customer complaints cited in a defect petition. It ultimately halted further investigation, saying it “found no data indicating the existence of a defect trend.”
Meanwhile, fatal crashes involving Toyota vehicles continued to mount, surpassing those of all other manufacturers combined.
In a written statement, NHTSA said its records show that since the 2002 model year, a total of 15 people died in crashes related to possible sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles, compared with 11 deaths in vehicles made by all other automakers.
The Times located federal and other records of 19 fatalities involving Toyota and Lexus vehicles in which sudden or unintended acceleration may have been a factor over the same period, as well as more than 1,000 reports by owners that their vehicles had suddenly accelerated. Independent safety expert Sean Kane, president of Safety Research and Strategies, said he has identified nearly 2,000 Toyota sudden acceleration cases for vehicles built since 2001.
Other experts say the numbers may be far higher, pointing to a 2007 NHTSA survey of 600 Lexus owners that found 10 percent complained they had experienced sudden acceleration.
While most sudden accelerations did not result in a crash, there were notable exceptions. Bulent Ezal, a retired engineer, plunged 70 feet off a Pismo Beach cliff into the Pacific Ocean surf, after he said his 2005 Camry suddenly accelerated in a parking lot. He was hospitalized with minor injuries, but his wife was killed.
In its research, the Times examined thousands of federal defect investigation records, complaints filed by Toyota and Lexus owners with NHTSA, and reports by independent safety experts, local police agencies and lawsuits against the company.
Toyota has been under a spotlight since Aug. 28, when off-duty California Highway Patrolman Mark Saylor and three members of his family died in a Lexus ES350 that accelerated to 120 miles per hour and crashed in San Diego County.
Toyota has blamed the Saylor crash on an incorrectly installed floor mat that jammed the accelerator pedal. In September, the company announced a recall of 3.8 million vehicles and is now designing a fix aimed at preventing sudden acceleration caused by floor mats.
The recall affects the 2007-10 model year Toyota Camry, the 2004-09 Toyota Prius, the 2005-10 Toyota Avalon, the 2005-10 Tacoma, the 2007-10 Toyota Tundra, the 2007-10 Lexus ES 350 and the 2006-10 Lexus IS 250 and IS 350.
Last week, NHTSA called the issue a “very dangerous problem” and said the remedy remains to be determined.
The agency declined a request for interviews but issued a statement defending its past actions, saying its officials have continuously monitored Toyota vehicles for potential defects and that many of the reports of sudden acceleration involved only momentary surges of engine power that did not result in any loss of vehicle control.
“NHTSA takes every allegation of safety problems seriously, and that is why we read every consumer complaint within one business day of its receipt,” an agency statement said. “In the case of complaints about sudden acceleration in Toyota vehicles, NHTSA moved very quickly to respond to them.”
For its part, Toyota Motor Corp. defended its Toyota and Lexus vehicles and the validity of prior investigations.
“Six times in the past six years NHTSA has undertaken an exhaustive review of allegations of unintended acceleration on Toyota and Lexus vehicles, and six times the agency closed the investigation without finding any electronic engine control system malfunction to be the cause of unintended acceleration,” company spokesman Irv Miller said in a statement.
Whatever the cause, NHTSA’s database of complaints filed by Toyota and Lexus owners show repeated cases of motorists grappling with runaway cars.
— Jean Bookout awoke in an Oklahoma hospital a month after she said her 2005 Camry sped out of control on a freeway and then smashed into an embankment on an exit ramp, leaving behind long skid marks from attempts to stop the vehicle with her brakes and emergency brakes. Bookout suffered permanent memory loss, and her best friend died. “I did everything I could to stop the car,” she said this week.
— Nancy Bernstein, a vice president for a Long Beach, Calif., community garden and a former science teacher, said she was taken on an eight mile high speed ride by her 2007 Prius, while she was following her husband in a group bicycle tour in Wisconsin. She said her Prius accelerated from 45 mph to 75 mph on a two lane winding highway cluttered with 100 cyclists.
“I was sure I was going to kill someone on a bicycle or myself,” Bernstein recalled. “I stood on the brakes with both feet. All of a sudden, I see fire. I thought, sure, my brakes are on fire. I thought about maybe trying to sideswipe a tree to slow down.”
Eventually, she was able to stop at the bottom of a hill, using her brakes and her emergency brake. A local resident rushed out with a fire extinguisher.
— Dr. David. W. Smith, an emergency room physician from San Dimas, Calif., never received what he considered a satisfactory answer from Toyota about his Lexus GS 300.
Smith said he was driving with his cruise control in central California on Highway 99 in 2008, when suddenly the vehicle accelerated to 100 miles per hour without Smith ever touching the accelerator.
The brakes did not release the cruise control or slow down the vehicle, Smith recalled. Finally, he shifted into neutral and shut off the engine. It was the second time it had happened, yet a Lexus dealer reported that it was “unable to duplicate customer concern.”
“I am sure it is the cruise control,” Smith said. “I haven’t used it since.”
In reviewing consumer complaints during its investigations, NHTSA relied on established “positions” that defined how the agency viewed the causes of sudden acceleration.
One was that a braking system would always overcome an engine and stop a car. The decision was laid out in a March 2004 memorandum.
When asked to submit its own complaint data to NHTSA, Toyota eliminated reports claiming that sudden acceleration occurred over a long duration because it did not represent how a throttle would fail in these vehicles.
NHTSA officials acknowledged in a statement that the exclusions were made but defended the practice.
“While some vehicles may be excluded from the scope of an investigation into a specific defect allegation, all are continuously reviewed, along with other relevant information, in order to identify other emerging issues of concern,” the statement said.
A reduced pool of reports created the appearance that the problem was much smaller than the gross numbers of complaints suggested, thus lowering the imperative for a broader vehicle recall, critics say.
“NHTSA has ways of pigeon-holing reports, categorizing them as brake failure rather than sudden acceleration,” said attorney Edgar Heiskell of Charleston, W.V., who is suing Toyota for a fatal crash involving a runaway Camry in Flint, Mich. “By excluding these braking and long-duration events, they have taken 80 percent of the cases off the table.”
In 2004, NHTSA began a probe into a defect petition filed by Carol J. Mathews, a registered nurse who was then director of health services for the Montgomery County, Maryland, school system. Matthews reported that she had her foot on the brake of 2002 ES when it took off and hit a tree.
In its subsequent investigation, NHTSA and Toyota both winnowed down other reports of sudden acceleration involving 2002 and 2003 Lexus ES and Camry models. When it asked Toyota to disgorge all of the reports it knew about, the company eliminated an unknown number in five broad categories, including cases where drivers said they were unable to control a runaway engine by applying the brakes.
In closing the investigation, federal investigators said only 20 cases of sudden acceleration were considered relevant.But the Times examination of consumer complaints and a sampling of reports from Toyota dealers found more than 400 reports of sudden acceleration involving those models. And federal records show that NHTSA knew about 260 of those cases and another 114 cases identified by Toyota.
As for its position that brakes can always overcome a vehicle’s engine, the safety agency and Toyota now acknowledge that in fact a braking system cannot always counter a wide-open throttle, as is the case in sudden acceleration.
NHTSA began investigating the problem of sudden acceleration in the mid-1980s, after a flood of complaints about the Audi 5000s. One outgrowth of the subsequent investigation was the NHTSA view that acceleration events at high speed are a different issue than events at low speed.
In 2005, for example, Jordan Ziprin of Phoenix experienced a minor accident he blamed on sudden acceleration; he filed a defect petition with NTHSA that included nearly 1,200 owner complaints about Toyota vehicles. The automaker argued the majority should be eliminated because they dealt “with two completely different issues.”
When owners said the “vehicle unintentionally or suddenly ‘accelerated,’ ” Toyota claimed that represented a different issue than when they said “the vehicle ‘surged’ or ‘lurched.’ ” NHTSA ultimately went one step further, eliminating every single complaint, finding them to have “ambiguous significance.”
The agency also has thrown out evidence for other reasons. In 2008, NHTSA opened a probe of the Toyota Tacoma after a consumer found that the pickup had accumulated 32 times more sudden acceleration complaints than any other pickup on the market.
But Toyota at the time said the complaints stemmed from “media and Internet exposure,” rather than any defect. NHTSA closed the case without a finding after it whittled down a list of more than 450 complaints to 62.
“To this day I still can’t find evidence online of a flood of media exposure,” said William Kronholm of Helena, Mont. He requested the investigation after he experienced two acceleration events in his 2006 Tacoma. “They never dealt with the question I presented in any real way.”
NHTSA has declined to reconsider previous investigations, even in the face of new evidence.
In March, Jeffrey Pepski of Plymouth, Minn., formally requested that NHTSA reopen two closed investigations into Toyota and Lexus vehicles for the acceleration problem, arguing in part that 10 other motorists had experienced sudden acceleration that could not be explained by floor mats.
NHTSA looked at the 10 cases and tossed them out. The agency’s way of looking at them sharply contrasted with the original accounts by the drivers.
In one case, the driver of a 2007 Lexus ES350 reported the sedan accelerated into a building, bounced backward, struck another vehicle and ended up on top of a snow bank. But federal officials described the case as a “single incident of alleged engine surge while parking vehicle. No trouble found by dealer.”
NHTSA denied Pepski’s petition last week, arguing that further study was “not warranted.”
Times staff members Scott J. Wilson and Melissa Rohlin contributed to this report.

Toyota in the docket: acceleration troubles have long history for automakersWednesday, March 17, 2010

  • By Raymond Paul Johnson and Cory G. Lee
    It was the perfect day that turned into a nightmare. Bulent and Anne Ezal were on a trip to Big Sur, traveling one of the most ruggedly beautiful stretches of the California coastline. As lunchtime drew near, Bulent eased the couple’s ToyotaCamry into a parking space near a coastal restaurant hugging the steep and rocky bluff overlooking the waves.
    Without warning, the vehicle suddenly shot ahead and careened over the cliff. The couple held on as the Toyota plummeted 75 feet, smashing onto the surf-washed rocks below.
    Miraculously, Bulent suffered few permanent physical injuries. But his beloved wife Anne died a horrifying death.
    This Toyota Camry went off a cliff and plunged 75 feet, killing a passenger, and her husband at the wheel could do nothing to stop it
    This Toyota Camry went off a cliff and plunged 75 feet, killing a passenger, and her husband at the wheel could do nothing to stop it
    The tragedy of that day has been replicated in accidents all over America, creating a tidal wave of trouble for an auto manufacturer that once commanded the pinnacle of consumer trust. Toyota has been called to task by congressional investigators, attorneys and the general public over a phenomenon that has afflicted thousands of vehicles, maimed and killed motorists, and earned its own moniker: sudden unintended acceleration.
    Toyota of late has embraced explanations that challenged credulity, suggesting that unintended accelerations can be caused by “sticky gas pedals” or “all-weather floor mats” that can jam the pedal. In the Ezals’ case, as in many other reported runaway accelerations, their Toyota did not have all-weather floor mats or the specific gas pedals identified in Toyota’s press releases. So what happened?
    The most likely explanations can be discerned with a look at the past, present and future – a look back in history, an examination of pivotal issues being publicly disregarded by Toyota, and the consideration of new techniques for discovering the root cause of this deadly defect.
    A brief history of uncontrolled accelerations
    The syndrome now afflicting Toyotas may be news to many, but unintended accelerations are nothing new in the auto industry.
    In 1978, Volkswagen began selling the first Audi 5000s in the United States. Sales were strong, with sales of the Audi flagship doubling in its first seven years in the U.S. market. But these popular vehicles had a recurring problem: uncontrolled acceleration.
    From 1978 to 1987, consumers reported more than 1,500 crashes involving sudden acceleration of Audi 5000s, with 400 reported injuries and seven fatalities. Many of the crashes were similar: the car was idling with the automatic transmission in “park,” the driver shifted into “drive” or “reverse,” and the car would, suddenly and without warning, wildly accelerate. Often the Audis could not be stopped before hitting other cars, trees, walls, or even people.
    One of those killed was six-year-old Joshua Bradosky. He died when an Audi 5000, driven by his mother, surged forward, crashing him through a garage and pinning him to the garage wall.
    Audi’s response was, essentially: the car is not defective, the drivers are. Audi’s public relations staff accused the drivers, emphasizing that “maybe people are putting their foot on the wrong pedal.”
    The response by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration(NHTSA):  The car is not defective; the drivers are. In 1989, NHTSA completed its investigation into “sudden acceleration incidents” (“SAI”), concluding, “most SAI probably involve the driver unintentionally pressing the accelerator when braking was intended.” In short, despite the increased frequency of sudden accelerations in certain model vehicles, and the driver (in virtually every incident) reporting “foot on the brake” rather than the accelerator, NHTSA concluded it was all merely the result of the driver pressing the wrong pedal.
    Despite this ultimate “finding” by NHTSA, as a result of prior work by trial attorneys, journalists, safety advocates, and consumers, the Audi 5000 had been recalled several times to correct problems that NHTSA itself acknowledged could cause sudden acceleration.
    In 1982, in a move shockingly similar to today’s Toyota headlines, NHTSA forced the recall of the Audi 5000 because the driver’s floor mats could cause sudden acceleration. Later, the placement of the brake pedal was blamed for some sudden accelerations, and the Audi 5000 was recalled again for repairs.
    In 1987, NHTSA identified defects that could cause “engine surge” and demanded the recall of some Audi 5000s yet again. Finally, that same year, the Audi 5000 was recalled to retrofit an automatic shift lock to prevent “unexpected, sudden acceleration, without prior warning.” Audi touted this final recall as the solution to most of the sudden accelerations incidents.
    With NHTSA’s investigation into “sudden acceleration incidents” closed, and most unintended accelerations attributed to driver error, NHTSA made no further recalls of the Audi 5000.  Long after the recalls, however, consumers continued to report runaway accelerations with the Audi 5000, even on vehicles that received all recall repairs.
    The 1990s and Ford Motor Company
    In the 1990s, consumers began to report that automobiles with popular cruise control systems had runaway accelerations. Ford Motor Company absorbed much of the criticism, with numerous lawsuits filed against it as well as multiple NHTSA recalls related to sudden acceleration.
    Unlike Audi’s problem with the Audi 5000, Ford’s runaway acceleration problems crossed into many models and various brands: AerostarsContoursEscapes,ExplorersF-Series TrucksFocus HatchbacksTaurusesMercury Mystiquesand Mercury Sables.
    Most of these Ford recalls involved the cruise control system. There was particular focus on a design that allowed contaminants into the speed control cable conduit or caused damage to the cable itself, resulting in either a wide-open throttle or surging throttle.
    However, the recalls ignored key consumer concerns regarding runaway accelerations. Prominent among them was whether transient electromagnetic interference (EMI) could cause these unwanted accelerations. Some experts believed that transient EMI could cause the electronic cruise control to signal the throttle to open, despite the absence of accelerator input.
    In addition, Ford was privy to information indicating that EMI could cause vehicles to suddenly accelerate out-of-control. Indeed, in internal investigations on sudden acceleration, Ford concluded that sudden unintended acceleration incidents increased with the introduction of broadly applied electronics in 1984. Ford also documented in internal memoranda that various electromagnetic failures, including EMI, could cause sudden unintended acceleration.
    Ford apparently learned that “the vehicle speed maintenance control system or ‘cruise control system’ . . . is capable in the event of ‘failure or malfunction’ of opening the throttle a substantial amount without driver input.” Indeed, former Ford employees have admitted that unwanted electrical impulses could open the throttle, causing sudden unintended acceleration.
    Ford generally denied virtually all defect claims related to runaway accelerations, often citing the 1989 NHTSA report of “drive pedal” error as evidence. However, Ford employees apparently experienced incidents of sudden unintended acceleration, with no reproducible evidence of the event.
    In one reported incident, a Ford engineer, investigating a Ford Expedition for cruise control problems, found that after pressing the “resume” button, “the vehicle kept accelerating beyond the set speed and wouldn’t respond to brakes or the off switch.” Upon examining the truck, however, Ford could not find anything out of the ordinary.
    In another reported incident, during a test drive of a Mercury Grand Marquis, a Ford employee shifted into “drive” and the engine raced with the wheels spinning, as if the accelerator were floored.  The employee stopped the car by braking as hard as he could. The car later checked out normal.
    In yet another reported incident, a Ford employee crashed an experimental Aerostar prototype. After shifting into gear, the vehicle accelerated to full throttle, tires squealing. The employee removed his foot from all pedals, thinking he had accidentally floored the accelerator, but the van continued to accelerate. He shifted into “park” but could not avoid crashing into a wall.
    Despite the above, Ford and virtually the entire industry continued to rebuff opinions that EMI could cause runaway accelerations, especially during related litigations.
    The 2000s bring trouble for Toyota/Lexus
    On August 28, 2009, with a California Highway Patrol Officer at the wheel, a passenger in a new Lexus ES 350 made a frantic call to 911. Their vehicle was out-of-control, weaving through traffic at 120 miles per hour.  The passenger’s final frantic words were “we’re in trouble . . . there’s no brakes.” The driver, his wife, teenage daughter, and brother-in-law, the 911 caller, were all killed as the vehicle slammed into another car and careened down an embankment.
    Since 2001, consumers have lodged more than a thousand reports of sudden unintended acceleration in Lexus and Toyota vehicles. NHTSA officials told a Congressional committee in early March that the agency had received 52 complaints of fatalities involving sudden unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles since 2000. A Los Angeles Times review of public records and interviews with authorities found at least 56 deaths blamed on sudden acceleration in Toyota and Lexus vehicles. In contrast, sudden unintended acceleration in all other vehicles made by other manufacturers resulted in only 11 deaths.
    Toyota first blamed these unintended accelerations on the drivers, then admitted that its all-weather floor mats could jam the accelerator pedal on certain models. Hoping to rectify the floor-mat problem, in September 2009 Toyota recalled millions of vehicles, including CamrysPriusesAvalonsTacomasTundras, andLexus models.
    The remains of the Toyota Camry in which Anne Ezal died
    The remains of the Toyota Camry in which Anne Ezal died
    The floor mat recall, however, did not end the inquiry.  NHTSA, in an unprecedented rebuke, responded to Toyota’s claim that no defects existed in their vehicles with compatible and properly secured floor mats. NHTSA publicly stated that it recognized an “underlying defect” in the design of the Toyota and Lexus accelerator pedals and the drivers’ foot wells.
    In January 2010, Toyota announced yet another related recall.  This one recalled millions of more vehicles to correct “sticking accelerator pedals.”  Toyota’s press release stated that its continuing investigation found that certain accelerator pedals could mechanically stick in a partially depressed position, or return slowing to the idle position.  Later in January, Toyota announced an unprecedented decision to halt sales and production of eight models until it could determine how to stop the gas pedals from sticking and causing unintended accelerations.
    However, we believe that Toyota’s runaway acceleration problems will not end at “jamming floor mats” or “sticky gas pedals.”  A telling point is that complaints of unintended acceleration in Toyota and Lexus vehicles increased dramatically after employment of electronic throttles in the last decade. In some models, sudden acceleration complaints increased five-fold after introduction of electronic throttles.
    The ignored issue and solutions
    Like the proverbial “elephant in the room”, the EMI issue must be directly addressed by Toyota and the rest of the auto industry.  EMI is real.  The aerospace industry has been dealing with the ramifications of EMI/EMC (electromagnetic interference/electromagnetic compatibility) since the 1960s.  Said simply: The more sophisticated electronics one stuffs into a small area, the more lethal the EMI/EMC issue.
    We now rely on an unprecedented number of electronic gizmos in every new car–some more than others.  Toyota, as the largest automobile manufacturer and an undisputed leader in electronic advances for automobiles, is at the forefront.  As such, and with its current runaway acceleration woes, Toyota will have to face the issue first.
    The electronic throttle system that Toyota introduced at the turn of the 21stCentury replaced the mechanical link (usually a steel cable) between the driver’s foot and the engine’s acceleration with a series of sensors, microprocessors, electric motors and wiring.  These devices were located among a growing number of additional sensors, processors, and wiring for a myriad of other electronic subsystems in a relatively small space in the vehicle’s engine area.  This, in and of itself, is a classic recipe for EMI/EMC problems.
    As the aerospace industry learned decades ago, manufacturers cannot simply continue to jam electronic devices into small areas without testing for and designing away EMI dangers.  If they do, spurious signals that inadvertently and randomly excite near-by electronics are inevitable.  If those near-by electronics include the engine control unit (or electronic throttle system), runaway accelerations are to be anticipated.
    EMI/EMC dangers can include stray voltage, algorithm defects in the related software of the microprocessor components, and random signals that excite other subsystems (such as opening throttle control units).
    Toyota, understandably, wants a “quick fix” to its runaway acceleration problems.  Sales, reputation and peoples’ lives depend on it.  But limiting its investigations to mechanical things such as “jamming floor mats” and “sticky gas pedals” is a tragic mistake.  Toyota (and the industry as a whole) can no longer afford to disregard “the elephant in the room”: EMI/EMC.
    The solution is not a “quick fix.”  Eliminating EMI/EMC dangers is a system design and test issue that affects every electronic component and computer-driven subsystem in the vehicle. And the more electronic components and microprocessors in a vehicle, the deeper and darker the problem.
    Besides testing for EMI/EMC dangers at each step of the design process, safety analyses must be done.  In particular, Failure Modes and Effects Analyses (FMEA) must be conducted to show that the system-design is free of EMI dangers.  Through careful design, testing and on-going FMEA, electronic devices can be safely integrated, insulated and, if need be, isolated, and all associated algorithms can be verified and validated to virtually eliminate the risk of EMI.  In more than 25 years of product liability litigation, however, we have yet to see an FMEA from any auto manufacturer that comes remotely close to accomplishing and documenting the above.
    Now is the time.  Toyota, as industry leader and saddled with its current “runaway acceleration” problems, should lead the way.  Future designs must thoroughly address EMI/EMC from the ground up.  Lives depend on it.
    But what about the Toyota vehicles already on the road?  Retrofit and perhaps redesign is necessary.  If Toyota has not already done so internally, it should immediately amass what the aerospace industry calls a “tiger team” of knowledgeable engineers across multiple disciplines (including auto design, electronics, software and safety engineers) to beat back its deadly problems.  Suspect components and software should be modified.  Susceptible electronic devices, including wiring and sensitive components, should be shielded, insulated and if necessary isolated or retrofitted to eliminate EMI dangers.
    The role of product liability litigation
    For well over 30 years, product liability litigation has been at the forefront of auto safety. Think Pinto “exploding gas tanks,” interior padding, airbag safety, roll-over propensity, etc.  Litigation is especially effective where industry progress is thwarted by profit concerns and federal regulation is dwarfed by politics.
    Even with today’s government and media interest in sudden unintended acceleration, troubles loom and questions remain unanswered. Toyota’s inconsistent mechanical “explanations,” the fact that the issue isn’t isolated to just one manufacturer, the reality of EMI/EMC dangers and the essential disregard of those threats by manufacturers and government watchdogs leave the public at risk.  As with so many previous automotive defects, that safety void will exist until manufacturers are spurred to find the real solution.  And, as in the past, that void will be filled by product liability litigation, and the type of knowledge and techniques that effective lawyers can use for the good of consumers across the nation.

    Raymond Paul Johnson is a Los Angeles product safety attorney who holds a masters degree in engineering, and has been prosecuting defective acceleration cases since the 1980s.  He is co-author of the national treatise “Defective Product: Evidence to Verdict,” a long-time member of Consumer Attorneys of California, and a Governor-Emeritus of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles.
    Cory G. Lee is an attorney with Raymond Paul Johnson, A Law Corporation.  He is a member of Consumer Attorneys of California and the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, and practices in the areas of products liability, hazardous roads, business law and other civil litigation matters.  He and Raymond Paul Johnson are representing the Ezals against Toyota.
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