Toyota to release 'black box' data in fatal Bellingham crash

By:  Staff Writer
Source: King5.com

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Bellingham couple who lost their son in a truck accident more than two years ago may finally find out why, thanks to an agreement reached by Toyota and Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

Toyota reportedly has agreed to turn over so-called 'black box' information that may determine whether the driver died because of acceleration problems that have led to millions of vehicles to be recalled.

According to Sen. Cantwell's office, Chris Eves, 29, died on Oct. 17, 2007 when his new Toyota Tundra veered off a rural road and crashed head-on into a tree near Bellingham. It was never determined why the Tundra was traveling so fast or why it went off the road.

Eves' Tundra is on Toyota's recall lists for problems with the driver-side floor mat and accelerator pedal.

Eves' parents have asked to see the information from the car's event data recorder (EDR) – basically, the truck's 'black box'. It records a vehicle's speed and pressure on the gas and brake before and after an impact. But until now, Toyota has refused.

At a hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Tuesday, Cantwell asked Toyota executives to turn over the data.

"His parents have the truck's EDR and a request to the company to give them access to the software to read its contents," said Cantwell. "Toyota has turned them down. In my state, there is a law pending in the Washington legislature as a result of Toyota's refusal. So I want to know - can you provide that information to Mr. Eves' family, so that they can have this data and information?"

"We will be glad to do so," replied Yoshimi Inaba, President and CEO of Toyota Motor North America "This is our desire also to find out what has happened. And very, very sorry about what has happened to this family."
Eves' family was relieved to hear the news.

"A great amount of stress has been lifted off of us with this news. We'll be able to have closure because the information we didn't have before will come out," said Ron Eves, Chris' father.