Officials in Winchester, Tennessee, are investigating a New Years’ Eve car accident that left three people dead. They are looking into sudden acceleration as a possible factor in that terrible accident, which involved a 2008 Kia, which slammed into the back of the minivan. Both the driver of the Kia, who told first responders that the car had “run away from her” and twin 7-year-old boys in the minivan, died from their injuries.
Two Tragic Accidents
But that was not the only fatal accident involving unintended acceleration that day. In Ontario, California, a Toyota Yaris slammed into another vehicle killing five people including a 7-year-old boy who was a passenger in the Yaris.
The driver of the Yaris told officials that the vehicle’s accelerator was stuck and that the brakes weren’t working. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has agreed to investigate the California accident. Winchester officials had also requested federal investigators to look at the Kia. They are hoping a government forensic team helps them find answers.
The Issue of Unintended Acceleration
The issue of sudden or unintended acceleration dates back to the 1990s and has been an on-and-off issue for a number of carmakers, particularly Toyota. Many of these automakers have issued recalls. With Toyota vehicles problems with sticky gas pedals or faulty floor mats were listed as causes. But, other sources of sudden unexpected acceleration could possibly be traced to lines of faulty computer code within a vehicle’s operating systems.
It’s a lot more challenging to prove unintended acceleration when the accident was the result of a software glitch. There have been many incidents reported by drivers when a car’s sudden acceleration or locked brakes “fixed itself” once the car was stopped and turned on again – much like restarting a computer. In 2009, Toyota recalled 5.2 million vehicles and the next year 2.3 million for accelerator pedal defects. In 2014, Honda recalled 175,000 hybrids for software failure.
Auto Defect Investigations
Right now, there are no software safety laws for automakers, but considering how many electronic devices have become standard in new cars, such legislation may become necessary.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a crash caused by sudden acceleration, it is critical that you contact an experienced auto products liability attorney who has the knowledge, skill and resources to independently investigate your case, determine the facts and help hold the negligent automaker accountable.
Often times, law enforcement agencies lack the resources to investigate such complex auto defect cases. You need an auto defect law firm that can deploy its resources and has access to renowned experts who can provide you with answers to these critical questions.