About four years after the spectacular mass recall of millions of toyotas, a U.S. Court has exonerated the japanese automaker. The manufacturer was not responsible for a 2009 accident that killed a woman, judges in los angeles ruled. The toyota of the 66-year-old had accelerated uncontrollably after an initial collision with another car and crashed into a tree. During this time, toyota was in the headlines for allegedly jamming gas pedal pedals and slipping floor mats that could have blocked the brakes. As a result, the group had recalled more than eight million vehicles worldwide.
Later it turned out that the accidents were caused by driving errors according to the expert’s opinion. Nevertheless, toyota’s image as a manufacturer of particularly reliable cars was severely tarnished. Group CEO akio toyoda was sharply attacked at a hearing before the U.S. Congress. The japanese were to blame for the deaths of many people because they had concealed technical faults, was the accusation – which has since been refuted.
The court in los angeles also found no evidence that a technical defect could be responsible for the fatal collision in 2009. The victim’s husband and son had accused the manufacturer that a missing brake assistant had caused the accident. Instead, the judges ordered the driver of the other car involved to pay $10 million (7.4 million euros) in damages. The 66-year-old’s car, a 2006 toyota camry, was not affected by the recalls.
The trial was considered a pilot case for about 85 other damage claims pending against toyota in california. Another important trial is scheduled for november in santa ana, california. The japanese had reached a $1.1 billion settlement in another trial in late 2012. This was intended to compensate toyota owners from a class action lawsuit for the decline in value of their cars after the recall. The company had stressed at the time that the payment was not an admission of guilt.