Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

Chasing Ambulances

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Toyota issues cars for six years where the gas pedal sticks to the floor mat, resulting in uncontrolled acceleration. It then sits on this issue for two years amidst complaints, until eight deaths (in two spectacular accidents) result in a mass recall. So I think we’ve learned which car company the narrator of Fight Club worked for.

Toyota then gets slapped with a class action lawsuit seeking punitive damages (understandable) but which also seek to “enjoin Toyota from implementing any fixes in the accelerator pedals of the subject vehicles without approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.” The catch? The NHTSA has never approved a recall fix, as that would involve taking responsibility for any problems that might later occur.

So acknowledgment of the problem was delayed due to the costs involved, and the treatment of the problem is delayed to maximize the possible damage settlements. Nobody wins: Not the consumers, the automaker or the government. Just the lawyers. Don’t you love modern commerce?

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