The NHTSA went through their database again and found 89 deaths possibly linked to sudden acceleration of Toyotas within the last 10 years.
From 2000 to mid-May, the NHTSA received more than 6,200 complaints about sudden acceleration in Toyota cars. The reports allege 89 deaths and 57 injuries over the same period. Previously, 52 deaths had been suspected of being connected to the problem, says Bloomberg.
With such carnage, one would assume that the NHTSA is beating down the doors of the bereaved to “get into the weeds” of the matter, as Secretary LaHood fancies to say.
No such door-to-door canvassing so far. NHTSA administrator David Strickland said at last week’s congressional hearing that his people “had spoken to nearly 100 vehicle owners who said they had unintended acceleration following a recall fix but NHTSA had not seen pedal entrapment or sticky accelerators in any vehicles that have been properly repaired,” says Bloomberg.
In a comment, Toyota said that “many complaints in the NHTSA database, for any manufacturer, lack sufficient detail that could help identify the cause of an accident.”
That is putting it mildly. We have said it in March, at the height of the Toyota witch hunt, and so far nobody contradicted us: The NHTSA complaint database is utterly useless. Anybody can file on-line complaints at NHTSA without a VIN number. Try it. With any car make you hate. Anybody can give a bogus email and a likewise bogus physical address. There is no on-line checking. Want 100 deaths more? It can be done in a few minutes. Without shedding blood.
Today for instance, there is a complaint about a 2010 Nissan GT-R. It’s from someone who did read in Autoblog that a Nissan burst into flames in a dealer showroom: “NISSAN GTS BURNS AT DEALER (HTTP://WWW.AUTOBLOG.COM/2010/05/25/REPORT-NISSAN-GT-R-GOES-UP-IN-FLAMES-WHILE-PARKED-IN-LOCKED-SHO/) A LOAD OF NISSANS BURNED UP ON HWY 98 ABOUT 5 MILES EAST OF HATTIESBURG MISS.. ARE THEY RELATED????”
There is a May 20, 2010 report about a death that occurred on May 22, 2000 – ten years ago.
As long as every complaint, especially the ones alleging death or bodily harm, is not properly followed up, as long as unverifiable reports are not immediately thrown out, as long as people who make false claims are not brought to justice for defamation or worse, these numbers belong in one place only: The garbage bin at the NHTSA. If raw, unverified data are published, the NHTSA could perpetuate lies and may become an accessory to fraud.
If you fancy conspiracies, then remember that Bloomberg had reported in March that 59 of 110 fatalities attributed to sudden acceleration in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records occurred in vehicles made by other companies. The data had been compiled for Bloomberg News by the NHTSA. That was over 30 years. Now it’s suddenly 89 deaths on the side of Toyota, in 10 years? Are we confused yet? If the NHTSA can’t do a proper body count from a questionable database, what can they do?