After reaching a settlement regarding unintended acceleration in their vehicles last year, a “fairness hearing” in California will determine additional settlements will be paid to Toyota owners whose cars were affected by the problem. The settlement agreed to by Toyota comes despite the fact that independent reviews “found no engineering defect that caused unintended acceleration.” The settlement does not include payments for wrongful death caused by unintended acceleration.
It is unfortunate for Toyota to be faced with such a situation, facing substantial consequences despite no wrongdoing on their part. However, there is potential for similar issues to become a growing trend in the auto industry. As cars use more and more software and lines of coding become increasingly long, one might expect there to be many more opportunities for undiscovered flaws, or in this case, glitches in isolated circumstances that can be interpreted as epidemic problems. In the future, there will be more and more opportunities for operator errors to be passed off as car faults by simple fact of having more places within the car to cast blame.