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Administrative Law

Attention Plaintiffs Lawyers: Cosmic Rays Probed as Possible Toyota Glitch

Posted Mar 16, 2010 11:41 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Federal regulators are considering whether cosmic rays are responsible for sudden acceleration in Toyotas, a published report says.

An anonymous letter (PDF) told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that several scientific papers discuss the possibility that cosmic rays can disrupt electronics at sea level, “essentially flipping a bit from one to zero, or vice versa.” The Detroit Free Press said the letter prompted regulators to look at the issue.

The story says space radiation has long affected aircraft, which are now designed to avoid the problem. Several researchers told the Free Press that the issue of cosmic rays is worth a look.

Toyota, however, says its engine controls are "robust against this type of interference."

Hat tip to Pat’s Papers.

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