As a long-time products liability lawyer fighting the auto manufacturers for negligently if not also knowingly allowing their defective products to cause their loyal customers serious personal injury, I was interested in the recent statement by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding a report on electronic control systems released by the National Academy of Sciences:
NHTSA commissioned the panel of National Academy of Sciences appointees to comprehensively review electronic control systems. While the auto manufacturers quack "safe, safe, safe," NHTSA stated that it needs to better understand the causes of unintended acceleration in passenger vehicles. So there is more than one cause? There is more than the supposed cause advertised by the manufacturers - lead foot on the gas pedal?
On its website, NHTSA states: The agency "has already taken steps to strengthen its expertise in electronic control systems while expanding research in this area — and the agency has considerable experience dealing with vehicle electronics issues in its research, rulemaking, and enforcement programs. But, NHTSA will continue to evaluate and improve every aspect of its work to keep the driving public safe, including research to assess potential safety concerns and help ensure the reliability of electronic control systems in vehicles. The agency will also further refine its strategic plan to address any potential technical and policy issues."
Potential safety concerns? There is nothing potential about the facts of electronic systems going haywire. Potential technical and policy issues?
Update - February 3, 2012: see this article, Electronics in Autos Pose New Safety Issues, Scientists Say, in the Insurance Journal.