Woman wins tri­bunal rul­ing

Northern News - - OUT & ABOUT - BAY­LEY MOOR

A Kerik­eri woman had to put both feet on her brake pedal after her car ac­cel­er­ated to 100kmh by it­self.

Carolyn Fox was driv­ing her 2007 Toyota Blade G Hatch - pur­chased from North­land Toyota in Whangarei - on July 2, 2016 on Kerik­eri Rd to the Bay of Is­lands Air­port when the ve­hi­cle ac­cel­er­ated un­ex­pect­edly from 60kmh to 100kmh.

After con­sid­er­ing her op­tions, she ap­plied both feet to the brake pedal and pushed down as hard as she could. Toyota dis­putes that there is a fault and main­tains it was prob­a­bly caused by an un­se­cured floor mat, but a dis­putes tri­bunal ad­ju­di­ca­tor has ruled in favour of Fox.

The Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles Dis­putes Tri­bunal de­ci­sion re­sulted in Fox be­ing awarded the pur­chase price of her car and part of the me­chan­i­cal war­ranty after two in­stances of the car ac­cel­er­at­ing un­ex­pect­edly.

The ad­ju­di­ca­tor’s re­port stated: ’’How­ever al­though the na­ture of the fault re­mains un­known, hav­ing ex­cluded driver er­ror as the cause, I am sat­is­fied that the un­in­tended ac­cel­er­a­tion was caused by an un­di­ag­nosed fault with the ve­hi­cle.’’

North­land Toyota chief ex­ec­u­tive Bryce Wood­ward says Toyota NZ cur­rently have the ve­hi­cle.

‘‘We are con­fi­dent it is fault free. It is not cur­rently avail­able for sale.’’

When the car came to a stop she put the ve­hi­cle into neu­tral be­fore switch­ing the engine off. Fox restarted the car and con­tin­ued to­wards the air­port. Upon ex­it­ing the round­about the car again ac­cel­er­ated, Fox im­me­di­ately put both feet on the brake and put the ve­hi­cle into neu­tral.

Fox re­turned the ve­hi­cle on Au­gust 3 2016, which North­land Toyota re­fused to ac­cept. Be­fore the tri­bunal hear­ing, North­land Toyota of­fered to re­fund the pur­chase price, which Fox de­clined.

‘‘The rea­son why I risked los­ing the case, was to have the abil­ity to speak pub­licly with the back­ing of the court’s rul­ing, be­cause Toyota were con­sis­tently min­imis­ing the cause of the un­in­tended ac­cel­er­a­tion.’’

‘‘It’s an in­de­pen­dent le­gal rul­ing that there is some­thing else wrong with the car, be­sides the pos­si­bil­ity of driver er­ror or the floor mat be­ing the rea­son for the un­in­tended ac­cel­er­a­tion,’’ Fox says.

Fox says all driv­ers should be told how to stop a car that’s ac­cel­er­at­ing un­ex­pect­edly.

‘‘Just put it into neu­tral, noth­ing else is go­ing to safely stop the car.’’

‘‘Just put it into neu­tral, noth­ing else is go­ing to safely stop the car.’’

Carolyn Fox

BAY­LEY MOOR/FAIRFAX NZ

Kerik­eri woman Carolyn Fox, at the site on Kerik­eri Rd where she stopped her Toyota Blade after it ac­cel­er­ated un­ex­pect­edly.

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