by Junko Yoshida
MADISON, Wis. — Could bad code kill a person? It could, and it apparently did.
The Bookout v Toyota Motor Corp. case, which blamed sudden acceleration in a Toyota Camry for a wrongful death, touches the issue directly.
This case — one of several hundred contending that Toyota’s vehicles inadvertently accelerated — was the first in which a jury heard the plaintiffs’ attorneys supporting their argument with extensive testimony from embedded systems experts. That testimony focused on Toyota’s electronic throttle control system — specifically, its source code.
The plaintiffs’ attorneys closed their argument by saying that the electronics throttle control system caused the sudden acceleration of a 2005 Camry in a September 2007 accident that killed one woman and seriously injured another on an Oklahoma highway off-ramp. It wasn’t loose floor mats, a sticky pedal, or driver error.