Sunday, January 11, 2015

Koua Fong Lee's foot was on which Camry pedal? Dr. Antony Anderson's paper helps explain

This is figure taken from Dr. Antony Anderson's paper,  Intermittent Electrical Contract Resistance as a Contributory Factor in the Loss of Automobile Speed Control Functional Integrity, published in March, 2014 in IEEE Access, a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The diagram originated in NHTSA's so-called Silver Book, a 1989 report in which NHTSA attempted to blame drivers for SUA.

Toyota's defense counsel in the Lee trial used the word "startle" in his opening statement, and that indicates the likely path of his defense arguments. He will almost surely claim that Lee was startled into applying the gas instead of the brake, partly because he was unfamiliar with the car he was driving.

Dr. Anderson can instantly dispense with those arguments. As he points out in his paper, NHTSA says that the "startle effect" occurs when a vehicle's electronic or other controls malfunction, causing a sudden power increase.  The driver then jams on the gas instead of the brake. But the logic is false, as he explains:

....Dr. Anderson then goes on to explain intermittency as a potential cause of sudden acceleration. His open mind and scientific rigor far surpass NHTSA's.

Question: Why does Toyota's likely legal defense in the Lee case depend on an illogical theory of SUA from a widely-discredited 1989 NHTSA report?