NHTSA Releases Official Toyota Unintended-Acceleration Report
Electronic malfunctions not to blame, government investigators say.
Even more interesting, NHTSA research found that in 35 of the cases it has investigated so far, drivers failed to apply the brake during acceleration. That means that in all likelihood, the driver was standing on the accelerator instead of trying to stop the car – a phenomenon that Toyota has dubbed “pedal misapplication.” Several of the remaining cases were found to be caused by either sticking accelerator pedals or pedals that became trapped under the vehicle’s floor mats.
NHTSA relied on data collected by event data recorders onboard the vehicles at the time of the accidents, though not every recorder provided an insight into the company’s troubles. The recorders in five of the cases provided no data whatsoever, while another was inconclusive.
Pedal misapplication is nothing new. According to a report compiled by the San Diego Union-Tribune, drivers of all types of vehicles confuse their pedals on a weekly basis. No one seems to know what causes the problem, though some suspect bad habits such as resting one foot on the brake while another operates the gas could be a culprit.
Whatever the cause, the news is likely to help Toyota rehabilitate its sullied image. NHTSA, meanwhile, says that while this report demonstrates that human error is to blame in the majority of the cases, it will continue to investigate the problem.
Source: Detroit News, San Diego Union-Tribune
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