B.C. father calls for probe into Toyota's 'black boxes'
A B.C. man whose son died in a car accident three years ago says he is lobbying Transport Canada to launch an investigation into the effectiveness of the vehicle's "black box" device.
Chris Eves died on Oct. 17th, 2007 when his Toyota Tundra inexplicably veered off a straight, quiet stretch of road in Washington State and crashed head-on into a tree.
Eves had a blood alcohol reading of .08, making him legally impaired, so authorities concluded he fell asleep at the wheel.
But that wasn't enough for his father. Ron Eves wanted to find out what the vehicle's black box, or Event Data Recorder (EDR), would reveal about the crash.
"Unless you have the facts of the loss of a very important family member, it's very difficult to have closure," Eves said.
The box is reportedly able to record speed, how hard the driver is hitting the gas pedal, and whether or not brakes were used leading up to a crash.
He managed to rescue the EDR from the wreckage, but immediately hit a speed bump: only Toyota software can download the information. Eves spent almost three years trying to get the company to download the data so he could have it independently analyzed.
This week, Eves and his family received a report from forensic engineer Bill Rosenbluth. The results, Eves said, were disappointing.
"It would indicate that Toyota's download was less than complete and less than accurate," he said. "Their software's defective."
Eves said the results were troubling because there is no government agency that assures EDR readout tools are properly calibrated, or even capable of reading the information they're processing.
Toyota has recalled millions of vehicles this year over problems with accelerators and floor mats. Eves worries his son's truck may have also been faulty, but the EDR data does not offer a definitive answer.
He says he has no plans to sue the auto giant, but is lobbying Transport Canada to investigate EDRs in their products.
"I would never want another family to go through this, and I hope that the government -- in particular the Canadian government -- will take some proactive measures to make sure that these readout devices are, in fact, not faulty."
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Julia Foy