• Toyota Hides Important Black Box Crash Data

    One of the little known facts about Toyotas is that they contain a “black box” similar to that of an airplane.  It records important information about the performance of the car before and after an accident.  This information is crucial for a full understanding of any and all possible defects in Toyota’s models, yet it’s information that they’re not revealing.  Continue reading to find out  more about this black box, what it records, and what unsavory practices Toyota has been engaging in.

    Toyota calls the “black box” an Event Data Recorder, or EDR.  The EDR records, stores, and protects information about the car and its performance for the few seconds before an accident and continues until a few seconds after the accident.  This information includes whether the brake or accelerator was engaged and is crucial in determining whether the accident was caused by driver error or a defect in the car. 

    For years, Toyota has blocked access to this data, and in various court proceedings it has provided inconsistent and even contradictory information about what the EDR actually records.   To make matters worse, the EDR is proprietary Toyota technology.  This means that even if a car owner, on his own, wanted to try to download the data from his EDR, he would be unable to. 

    Until this week, there was only a single, solitary laptop in the United States that could decrypt and read the data on Toyota’s EDRs, according to the Associated Press.  The AP also found that Toyota has refused to provide key information sought by crash suvivors or survivors and that when Toyota has been pressed  to provide the information on the EDR during lawsuits that they either settle or provide printouts with the key, important columns blank. 

    For a more in-depth look at the issue of Toyota’s black boxes, check out this excellent article by the Associated Press.  And re member, if you have a model that has been recalled by Toyota or have experienced any problems with sudden acceleration, you should contact an attorney to discuss any potential legal recourse you may have.  The models recalled to date are:

    • 2005-2010 Avalon
    • 2007-2010 Camry
    • 2009-2010 Corolla
    • 2008-2010 Highlander
    • 2009-2010 Matrix
    • 2004-2009 Prius
    • 2005-2010 Tacoma
    • 2007-2010 Tundra
    • 2009-2010 VENZA
    • Lexus models IS250, IS350 and ES350
    • 2009-2010 RAV4
    • 2009-2010 Corolla
    • 2009-2010 Matrix
    • 2005-2010 Avalon
    • 2007-2010 Camry
    • 2010 Highlander
    • 2007-2010 Tundra
    • 2008-2010 Sequoia

    Zachary L. Wool, Esq., a lawyer with Barrios, Kingsdorf & Castiex has authored this blog post.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact him at zwool@bkc-law.com.

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