By on July 13, 2010

People “familiar with the findings” of NHTSA’s investigation into unintended acceleration in Toyotas tell the WSJ [sub] that after studying “dozens” of black boxes, the DOT has

found that at the time of the crashes, throttles were wide open and the brakes were not engaged… The results suggest that some drivers who said their Toyota and Lexus vehicles surged out of control were mistakenly flooring the accelerator when they intended to jam on the brakes.

Really? Could it be true? It wasn’t cosmic rays or a ghost in the machine causing vehicles to run completely out of control? We’re shocked. Shocked, we tell you.

The WSJ notes that this doesn’t exonerate Toyota from issues involving sticky pedals or floormat entrapment, both of which were subject to recalls. However:

The findings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration involve a sample of reports in which a driver of a Toyota vehicle said the brakes were depressed but failed to stop the car from accelerating and ultimately crashing.

The data recorders analyzed by NHTSA were selected by the agency, not Toyota, based on complaints the drivers had filed with the government.

The findings are consistent with a 1989 government-sponsored study that blamed similar driver mistakes for a rash of sudden-acceleration reports involving Audi 5000 sedans.

NHTSA admits that is has yet to find any sign of a problem with Toyota’s electronic throttle control system, the main system targeted by Sean Kane, and congressional hearings. A more in-depth study, in partnership with NASA, is still underway.

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80 Comments on “NHTSA Blames Driver Error For Toyota Unintended Acceleration...”


  • avatar
    srogers

    It’s deja vu all over again!

  • avatar
    210delray

    Yep, Audi 5000 Part Deux. The public has moved on anyway; what with the oil spill, unemployment, and Mel Gibson.

  • avatar
    Monty

    Say it ain’t so!

  • avatar
    Lokki

    Does Toyota get their $16M back???????

    • 0 avatar
      ott

      +1,000,000. I would take this back to the courts and sue the pants of NHTSA and Ray LaHood for defamation, lost revenue, lost customers, lost pay for Toyota employees in factories, dealerships, time and money wasted on unnecessary recalls… the list goes on and on. Sic ‘em, Toyota!

    • 0 avatar
      ott

      And don’t forget to charge Jim Sikes with fraud.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      The whole thing about throttle pedals getting stuck in the down position might still be true, and the floormat problems were almost certainly true. This report only addresses the reports of cars ‘surging’ forwards, i.e. going from closed throttle to open throttle.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      The 16M had everything to do with TMC dragging its feet on reporting defects in the mats, or the pedal assy (I don’t remember which), the electronics not so much (really, not at all.)

      There should have been fines for the pedal assy (or mats), and for the foot-dragging on recalling the fracturing steering relay-rods.

      TMC was lucky that for these three issues they did not get hit with something in the area of 50M dollars. They certainly deserved it.

      The fine is not for the issue, it is for lake of timely disclosure. If you report your issue properly and promptly, there is no fine.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Why? Just because a few people were trying to capitalize on SUA doesn’t dismiss the fact that Toyotas do have problems with sticky pedal assemblies and floormats that have caused far too many deaths. Don’t be fooled, Toyota is a very arrogant company that could give two shits about yours or my well being. Selling as many vehicles and making as much profit is the name of the game here folks and no car company is imune.

  • avatar
    thats one fast cat

    Filed this away. Yessir.

    Right in the “no shit” folder.

  • avatar

    Now this changes a few things. Edmunds million dollar contest needs a re-think. Sam Sero followers are crying and if history repeats itself lawyers are running to the senior partner’s office and asking for a new strategy on the Toyota cases. Using Audi as a guide the plaintiffs will now admit they were operating the vehicle incorrectly and say Toyota’s pedal configuration is a faulty design that leads to brake pedal misapplication.

    To all to the posters who insisted there must have been a defect because there were such a large number of complaints – Time to man-up, apologize and accept the facts.

    • 0 avatar
      SomeDude

      I dare say I still believe there _may_ be a defect. The facts aren’t there yet because the investigation is far from complete. Sorry, Sir, but no apology from me. Also, please give my kind regards to your, how shall I put it, Toyota ‘friends’…

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      SomeDude, there are hidden defects in every Toyota, Honda, GM, Ford … Nothing is perfect.

      But the bottom line is, don’t fabricate evidence. Be sure you can replicate it and prove it before you make it public.

  • avatar
    tced2

    Or maybe the ECU is receiving incorrect reports of accelerator/brake application. It’s software after all that records the events. Just because the ECU says the brake was never applied doesn’t mean that the brake wasn’t applied. it just means the ECU recorded no brake application. Software can have mistakes. This report assumes the ECU recording of events is correct.

    • 0 avatar
      SomeDude

      +1. Carquestions, please take a look at this tced2′s post.

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      Or maybe goblins from space clouded the drivers’ minds with garlic fumes and fragrance of lilac. Then while the drivers revelled in a blissful state of well-being, the goblins re-wired the ECU, waited for the crash, then wired it back to OEM spec before the emergency crews arrived.
      The goblins from space then went to Starbucks for frappucinos and biscotti, which are in short supply on their planet.
      Of course, this is mostly hypothetical.

    • 0 avatar
      ott

      I’m no Bill Nye, but I’m pretty sure they would have tested this thing every which way till Sunday before they had to admit defeat and reveal to the world that the mighty NHTSA got it wrong. There simply seems to be nothing wrong with the cars.

    • 0 avatar
      european

      @ott +1

      or maybe, its those chinese hackers that brought the NHTSA site down, altering the results of the finding, so that japanese mfgs can still be on top and hold GM and the koreans down, while the chinese buy GM piece by piece off and wallstreets bs journal oracle about kia being killed by 2011 comes true.

    • 0 avatar
      NorthwestT

      @Ott, Well nothing wrong aside from every car being beige.

      But seriously, they still have problems with the accelerator…just the known problems, e.g. floormat and mechanical sticking.

    • 0 avatar
      SomeDude

      Srogers,

      Indeed, goblins from space may have clouded the drivers’ minds with garlic fumes and fragrance of lilac. As a result, the drivers see the Toyota case as the evil Big Government waging a war on a defenceless company. Those who do not revel in said blissful state of well-being happen to observe that Toyota is a huge corporation with immense resources and a lot of political connections, the latter coming quite handy when in need to weasel out of an unpleasant situation.

      Those damn goblins…

    • 0 avatar
      Dynamic88

      +2 tced2

      http://www.safetyresearch.net/2010/01/15/toyota-sudden-acceleration-in-reverse/

      We have at least one confirmed case, inspected by the dealer, while the engine was racing. This could not have been pedal mis-app. Nor could it have been pedal entrapment. Nor did the driver fail to step on the brakes.

      You guys who are quick to say it’s Audi-5000 redux don’t strike me as even wanting to know the truth.

      It’s amazing how much criticism there has been about the NHTSA, yet when they say it’s driver error, that’s gospel.

      I guess people are going to believe what they want to believe, and for them, that’s going to be the “truth”.

    • 0 avatar
      ott

      “It’s amazing how much criticism there has been about the NHTSA, yet when they say it’s driver error, that’s gospel.”

      Let’s not forget that it was the first testament of NHTSA gospel that led to the hearings, at which their opinions were certainly treated as fact. We are now just hearing the second testament.

    • 0 avatar
      Canuck129

      @ ott +2
      Also, I wonder how many of these “sticky accelerators” were actually in need of repair when they came in under recall. My guess would be very VERY few. Perhaps Toyota was under a little pressure to make the accelerator issue bigger than it actually was?

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Canuck: As an automotive safety-part engineer with 25+ years in the industry, and having worked on several recall-events, I have to thank you for giving me a good laugh (because what you are suggesting is not the way that most recalls work.)

    • 0 avatar
      Canuck129

      Robert.Walter

      This was far from “most recalls”. And, admittedly, it doesn’t seem very realistic, I know. But this thing stunk from day one. If nothing else, it has given Toyota the jolt in the rear end that they’ve needed in other ways, and, hopefully it will make the whole industry a bit safer in the long run.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      “It’s amazing how much criticism there has been about the NHTSA, yet when they say it’s driver error, that’s gospel.”

      Boom shucka shucka! The best statement so far, to which i will add:

      1.) So the black boxes say so that makes it so, huh? So now we trust black box infallibility?

      That’s like solely trusting the murderers testimony because he was the only witness.

      2.) So I’m to believe 3000 cases were just “driver error”?
      If 3000 people are slamming on their gas pedals instead of the brakes, then guess what, Toyota’s entire design/placement of the gas and brake pedal system must be off (not to mention the lack of brake override)! Either way, it is a bad design.

      3.) This makes no sense. Why would ONLY Toyota/Lexus drivers suddenly turn absolutely stupid? Mixing up pedals is about the hardest mistake to make (*IF* the design is ok).

      4.) I thought that there was only one code reader for the “black” boxes in these cars. I thought Toyota owned it. Now they say they read thru dozens of black boxes, but that’s good for 3,000 cases? And because the computer says the gas pedal was pushed but the brake pedal wasn’t that’s the end of the investigation?

      5.) NHTSA is a government agency. And the government has been wrong before, I know, incredible ain’t it? But if you didn’t believe NHTSA in the beginning you can’t believe them now and keep your credibility. Just sayin’.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @windswords: +1.

      Like I said in a previous post several days ago, consistency. You can’t have it both ways.

      I think there’s still more to investigate. And I think this may be a bigger problem, potentially affecting more automakers than we realize.

      We don’t know what we don’t know.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      windswords: 1.) So the black boxes say so that makes it so, huh? So now we trust black box infallibility?

      That’s like solely trusting the murderers testimony because he was the only witness.

      Unlike said murderer, the black box is supposed to be an impartial observer. The department and Toyota’s critics must prove that the boxes themselves were defective and showed that people were jamming on the brake pedal when they really weren’t, or were somehow programmed to omit crucial information. So far, I’ve seen no proof of this.

      People don’t seem to understand how this process works. Several customers alleged that Toyotas were defective in certain ways that caused them to accelerate out of control. These allegations went beyond the floor mats and sticking accelerator pedal linkages. Supposedly, some sort of electronic gremlins were causing Toyotas to accelerate out of control, even though drivers were standing on the brake pedal. The federal government investigated their complaints.

      We now know that this is false. Drivers were hitting the wrong pedal. If there is another defect allegedly causing this problem, then the accusers bear the burden of proving exactly what type of defect is present, and how it is causing this problem.

      Toyota has nothing more to prove; it has won this round of the case.

      windswords: 2.) So I’m to believe 3000 cases were just “driver error”? If 3000 people are slamming on their gas pedals instead of the brakes, then guess what, Toyota’s entire design/placement of the gas and brake pedal system must be off (not to mention the lack of brake override)! Either way, it is a bad design.

      Yes. If you doubt that, review the files from the old Audi case of the 1980s. It turns out that no defects were ever found, and drivers who claimed that their cars suddenly accelerated out of control, despite application of the brakes, were mistakenly pressing on the accelerator pedal.

      It’s not necessarily a bad design as much as a different design. Most of the people involved in the Audi fiasco had traded highline GM cars for an Audi. The pedal placement in the Audi was different from what they were used to.

      Toyota, I would imagine, has been successful in “conquesting” sales from other manufacturers (especially with the Prius and the Lexus lines). I wonder how many of these people had traded another make for their Toyota product.

      windsword: 3.) This makes no sense. Why would ONLY Toyota/Lexus drivers suddenly turn absolutely stupid? Mixing up pedals is about the hardest mistake to make (*IF* the design is ok).

      Virtually all makes and models have reported incidences of unintended acceleration. It does NOT only affect Toyota and Lexus.

      The phenomenon of cars supposedly accelerating out of control has been around since the days when the automatic transmission first became popular.

      windswords: 5.) NHTSA is a government agency. And the government has been wrong before, I know, incredible ain’t it? But if you didn’t believe NHTSA in the beginning you can’t believe them now and keep your credibility. Just sayin’.

      That cuts both ways. People who were eager to nail Toyota to the wall were initially happy to believe the federal government on this issue. Now they are questioning the federal government, because they are unhappy with the results of the investigation. So this argument cuts both ways.

      I know that lots of domestic fans wanted Toyota to be brought low by this, but this resolution suggests that the domestics will have to fight Toyota the old-fashioned way – by building superior vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      Geeber: “That cuts both ways.”

      Actually it doesn’t. I can’t speak for others but I based my suspicions on what the drivers were reporting, not NHTSA. I also based my suspicions on the actions of Toyota, which were evasive, if not down right obfuscating. I would also point out that the same problem has been reported in Japan where the Japanese drive Toyota’s badged as Toyota’s and Lexus badged as Toyota’s (’cause that’s what they really are). I wish I still had the link. Don’t you think the Japanese citizens who grew up with Toyota’s would be used to the pedal placement by now?

  • avatar

    Glad to see “the fix” isn’t always “in”… or can at least be revealed for what it was. Tough break for Gov’t Motors…

    Toyota should immediately demand a public apology from Ray DaHood… while calling out the cops to remove any UAW “protestors” still littering the Earth in front of Toyota dealerships.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Oh I get it now. It was all smoke and mirrors organized by the UAW and the Democrats. But wait…it was Huyandai/Kia that reaped the benifits? But Mr Finfrock figures todays news was a “tough break” for GM.

      Now oboylepr says “now way” the NHTSA has way too much integrity for such sehanigans.

    • 0 avatar
      european

      mickey mickey
      of course it’s all UAWs/CAWs/govs doing.
      just the outcome was mispredicted and so H-K
      profited.
      you know, malice intentions always backfire.
      and yet, some never learn.

      enjoy your impala.

  • avatar
    european

    haha @ srogers

    damn those biscotti be deeeelicious.

    btw, lets see the broader picture here, shall we:
    is goverment letting go off gm?, is it like, “ok we tried.
    we gave you money. we tried to give you an advantage over the competition. yet still you suck. and will suck. go into the
    corner. right there. yes. perfect. now die. bay bay”

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    Well the initial GM IPO is coming up soon (maybe). Perhaps Toyota should just buy up all of GM and just shut it down. Game, set and match! I know I’d be tempted to.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Well buying GM shoudn’t be that hard,if they got any money left over after paying off the NHTSA

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Toyota will not be allowed to shut GM down, even if they own 100% of GM.

      In case you have a very short memory, GM stock and bond holders have absolute no power over GM, as demonstrated last year. The UAW is the real boss. GM will be shut down, when the UAW wants it shut down.

  • avatar
    SkiD666

    I think it was obvious that most (not all) of the SUA events were caused by drivers hitting the gas instead of the brakes.

    BUT, that still doesn’t explain why Buick drivers for instance don’t have similar rates of SUA.

    At the very least, Toyota has an ergonomic issue (like Audi did), although I still suspect some very rare electronic issue also.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      One possible reason – Buick drivers are more likely to have driven Buicks, or at least GM cars, for most of their driving years. They are therefore more likely to be familiar with the ergonomics, including pedal placement, in their vehicles.

      Toyota has been much more successful in conquesting sales from other makes – particularly GM. Which increases the likelihood of this sort of problem.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Well, Toyota has a lot of SUA events simply because they sell a lot of cars. Toyota and Chevrolet are the top two selling brands in the US (and I guess Toyota has some older drivers).

      If you divide the number of events by the number of cars sold, VW is the worst SUA offender.

  • avatar
    JT

    Welcome to the American Way of Life: “Not My Fault”

  • avatar
    NorthwestT

    Just to be clear, this doesn’t have anything to do with the cases where (it appears) the accelerator stuck, the cars accelerated out of control and the occupants died in a fiery crash.

    This just addresses the old person in the parking lot scenario.

    • 0 avatar
      285exp

      Per the WSJ article on this subject:
      “NHTSA has received more than 3,000 complaints of sudden acceleration in Toyotas, including some dating to early last decade, according to a report the agency compiled in March. The incidents include 75 fatal crashes involving 93 deaths.

      However, NHTSA has been able to verify only one of those fatal crashes was caused by a problem with the vehicle, according to information the agency provided to the National Academy of Sciences. That accident last Aug. 28, which killed a California highway patrolman and three passengers in a Lexus, was traced to a floor mat that trapped the gas pedal in the depressed position.”

      The vast majority of the Toyota UA incidents are of the obvious pedal missapplication variety, i.e. driver pressing the accelerator instead of the brake. And even in the crash referred to above, had the driver just jacked down on the brakes he would have been able to bring the vehicle to a safe stop.

      And those of you who refuse to see that this IS Audi 5000 redux are the ones who don’t really want to know the truth.

    • 0 avatar
      NorthwestT

      Sheesh, killed by a frigging floormat. I missed that they had id’d a cause in that case. I figure many of the UA “victims” are either people trying to cash in in some way or are just ignorant of their own mistake. But I’m not sure Toyota is in the clear.

    • 0 avatar

      Toyota’s probably off the hook, though the dealership may not be. Wasn’t this a loaner car, and the dealer had placed an all-weather mat placed on top of the factory mat?

      Regardless, I consider this a textbook example of Darwinism at work.

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    Well buying GM shoudn’t be that hard,if they got any money left over after paying off the NHTSA

    LOL, And if you believe that, well I have a bridge on the far side of the moon for sale! ;-)

    In all seriousness though, even if they could buy GM, they wouldn’t and as WSN said they would not be allowed to pull a stunt like shutting it down in any case. Besides this upcoming IPO will only put some of GM on the market. With regard to the sudden acceleration issue, I think the NHTSA should do it’s research first and keep the accusations until it has determined what really happened. We have had Audi and Toyota, they say 3rd time lucky, I wonder who is next.

  • avatar
    SamMule

    I had a 1988 Camry AllTrac. After about 100k the accelerator stuck regularly. I’d clean the cable with some carb cleaner, that would unstick it for a few days. Fortunately it was a manual and if the accelerator stuck I’d disengage and flip the pedal back and forth a few times with my foot to unstick it. I suppose if it had been an automatic it could have been a problem. Perhaps a good argument for sticking with a manual (no pun intendced).

    • 0 avatar
      ott

      The issue here isn’t a sticky cable, if it was it would be very easy to diagnose and fix. I can understand how a 22 year-old vehicle of any make with 100k could experience stickiness in a mechanically-actuated gas pedal. Age, corrosion, wear and tear are all factors with such mechanical components. Your cable should have been a very simple fix. The problem here is that they’re trying to diagnose a problem which appears not to exist. If it could be proven, things would be a lot simpler for everyone, if not better for Toyota.

  • avatar
    RRocket

    Hmmmm…I wonder why this story isn’t being splashed all over the MSM sites/TV Channels…..

    Dead silence on the major TV and cable news channels…

    • 0 avatar
      ott

      There’s none of the drama newsmongers need for ratings in them eating crow.

    • 0 avatar
      texlovera

      Doesn’t fit the narrative…

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      The news media will be busy reporting the NAACP issued a statement at their annual conference that the Tea Party has “racist” elements and “undertones”. And they will report it like it’s a settled fact not an opinion. I guess I should tell my Cuban wife she is involved in a racist organization but I don’t want to spoil all the fun she’s having making new friends.

  • avatar
    SomeDude

    Regardless of how this will play out, I think blaming NHTSA is unjust.

    The objective of NHTSA is to make cars safe. They received a disproportionally large number of UA complaints for Toyota vehicles. They had acted on the information they had. What else would you expect them to do?

    NHTSA has to deal with a situation where there’s potentially a deadly defect in Toyotas, but the manufacturer would never admit it is there and would make everything possible to hide it. This is like working on a criminal case, is this not? If I were in NHTSA’s shoes, I’d have requested some help from the FBI, not NASA.

    RRocket wonders “why this story isn’t being splashed all over the MSM sites/TV Channels”

    After all, what’s the big news here? That an anonymous source told the WSJ that the investigation had yet to get down to the bottom of the UA phenomenon, is that it? Is July 13, 2010, some kind of a deadline for the investigation to produce a definitive answer? What if NHTSA finds the culprit tomorrow? What if the WSJ’s anonymous source simply lied?

    • 0 avatar
      Dynamic88

      The big news, as far as I can see, was the anonymous source told this to the WSJ while the investigation with NASA’s help is ongoing. What’s the reason for leaking the “news” today?

  • avatar
    tced2

    If this preliminary report is true, where does CTS go “to get its reputation back”? I seem to recall a lot of folks that seemed to attribute the problem to CTS-manufactured accelerator pedals.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      I rather expect this relevation affects a sub-set of the larger unintended acceleration issue, namely those events that could not be directly attributed to either the pedal or the matt related sub-sets.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Back in the old days when we used to play “Twister,” we never had the problem of massive numbers of drivers confusing the brake with the accelerator.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniorMint

      Except for…um…Audi?

      Or did Twister come out in 1915, and I’m not aware of it?

      WIKI BREAK

      Twister was submitted to be patented by Charles F. Foley and Neil Rabens in 1966, but it did not become a success until Eva Gabor played it with Johnny Carson on television’s Tonight Show on May 3, 1966.[1][2]

      Audi 5000
      During model years 1982-1987, Audi issued a series of recalls of Audi 5000 models[21] associated with reported incidents of sudden unintended acceleration linked to six deaths and 700 accidents.[21]

      Okay, you had 15 years. You’ve won this round, Rod Panhard!

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    I wonder if Brian Ross of ABC news has a story pending about this.
    I won’t hold my breath…

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    “The objective of NHTSA is to make cars safe. They received a disproportionally large number of UA complaints for Toyota vehicles. They had acted on the information they had. What else would you expect them to do?”

    Answer: Investigate Toyota. However, there is a lot of discussion on how the NHTSA collect and file complaint data not to mention the integrity of their complaint system database. It may be as some have pointed out that there is not a disproportionate number of Toyota UA complaints and that the actual number is similer to the other automakers but that they chose to highlight Toyota for some nefarious reasons. That this same public database has been taken offline is suspicious in itself.

    Mikey, I don’t know where you got it that I claimed the NHTSA was too integral (to enter into a deal with Toyota I take you to mean) to get up to shenanigans. In fact I think the opposite may be true but not in the way you think. I think they (at the behest of someone) tried to torpedo Toyota. Will we ever know for sure though? It may be time to put that loose canon Lahood out to pasture.

    • 0 avatar
      CamaroKid

      But didn’t some guy with a PhD in “shop” prove that if you applied just the right resistance to just the right circuits, in just the right order, with just the right camera trickery, with support and funds from plaintiff counsel, you could get these cars to accelerate?

      And the most likely groups to have this problem are real-estate agents and former wife swappers..

      Or that the ECM suddenly would lockout neutral (or any other gear), until you prayed to the almighty.

      The question is not “Can we finally put this to bed?”

      The question should be “How could ANYONE think this was real?”

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      Camaro,

      No. He did not. What he did was show you could cause a malfunction that would NOT set off a trouble code in the ECU. Up to that time Toyota was saying they could find nothing wrong with the cars they examined after the incidents. No trouble codes. No evidence. So it must be the stupid drivers, right?

  • avatar
    Potemkin

    Before all the Toyota acolytes raise TMC to saint hood a few questions. Were the NHTSA people who selected the test cars the same ones whose former employer was TMC? Did NHTSA techs analyse the ECMs using their own computers and software or did the ever helpful Toyota guys offer to do the analysis for them using TMC software? Why are there still UA incidents happening, you’d think with all the press people would watch what pedal they push? Let’s not forget we have the best government money can buy.

  • avatar
    Sandy A

    No one can deny that drivers are the cause of sudden unintended acceleration. That is one known cause of SUA.

    Those who read the WSJ carefully will note first that only “dozens” of thousands of cases were tested, and that “the agency is focusing only on recent accidents.”

    The statistics show that there was a spike of SUA after 2002 that then died down. If it was solely due to driver error then you would expect similar statistics for each model year.

    The fact that they didn’t find a problem so far with the electronics/software doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Moreover, there could have been a problem which was either intentionally or unintentionaly fixed since 2005.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I had an near SUA incident in a BMW a couple of months ago. I had to stop quickly and caught the edge of the accelerator with the edge of my shoe when I hit the brake. Clearly 100% driver error. Fortunately I was saved by the fact the clutch was in and the brake pedal was to the floor. Sloppiness on my part. Definitely not the fault of the electronics.

      I don’t blame the pedal placement since I like to heel-and-toe and they’re just fine where they are. I just have to be more careful when driving wearing certain pairs of shoes.

    • 0 avatar
      nonce

      If it was solely due to driver error then you would expect similar statistics for each model year.

      But if it was not really a problem that existed until the media made it into an issue, you would expect . . . pretty much what we see now.

      Remember when everyone was finding weird stuff in Pepsi cans, or Wendy’s hamburgers?

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      “The statistics show that there was a spike of SUA after 2002 that then died down. If it was solely due to driver error then you would expect similar statistics for each model year.”

      If that is true then TTAC should investigate if there were ANY changes made by Toyota at this time. Did they change the pedal placement? Simple measurements would show that. Did they change the software? harder to do but there must be a way to find out. How about it guys?

  • avatar
    Lokki

    Hmmm mysterious software glitch that can’t be found despite millions of sample points or clumsy feet? Which to choose?

    Being cut with Occam’s razor always stings, doesn’t it?.

    Given a choice of conspiracy theories, I prefer the one that a political decision was made to attack Toyota via the NHTSA over the one that Toyota has manufactured a cover-up and the NHTSA bought into it.

  • avatar
    Invisible

    Shockingly, Agent009 has not copied this articles from TTAC as he usually does for his website. Oops, that’s because it doesn’t fit his hidden agenda.

  • avatar
    Cammy Corrigan

    To all those people who are saying “Toyota fanboys, how come you’re now trusting the NHTSA, when you were sceptical at the beginning?”, look at it from this angle:

    Conversely, Toyota haters (if we can divide the world up like that), didn’t exactly appeal for calm and asked there be a fair trial and not one by media. They trusted what the NHTSA said in the beginning and had their “facts” (in the form of the NHTSA database) to back them up. Now that the NHTSA had admitted they may have been wrong about the electronical gremlins, the Toyota haters are now distrusting of what the NHTSA say.

    And before anyone start crying like a big jessie, all I’m saying is that in the world of cars, no-one gets away clean. Not Toyota. Not Ford. Not GM. Not even the current media darling, Hyundai.

  • avatar
    Invisible

    So, will Obama’s hitman Ray Lahood attempt to extort more money out of Toyota?

    Will Lahood be traveling to Japan again to survey Toyota’s processes and quality controls and passing judgement on further sanctions against Toyota?

  • avatar
    1996MEdition

    Uh-oh!

    http://www.wishtv.com/dpp/news/local/south_central/car-smashes-into-mobile-home

  • avatar

    My, this news comes as quite a shock.

  • avatar
    AaronH

    You can thank the government-run public schools for creating a nation of bratty government-loving dimwits who can’t even figure out what their Political Rulers are doing to them.

  • avatar
    cmcmail

    When 30% of the “runaways” were equipped with standard transmissions, it was obvious that is was driver error. Unless there were a lot of unreported clutch failures. I bet it was people with winter boots in regions where the don’t usually need them.There were a lot of first timers in snow this year. I drive a Tacoma manual trans. with snow boots on it can be kinda tight down there, could see it being confusing in a panic (snow). Modern brakes are plenty strong to stop a vehicle even with the gas pedal on floor.It is lucky we really don’t count on the government for real safety advice, Bloggers get it first anyway.

  • avatar
    Potemkin

    Can your brakes hold back a fully depressed accelerator. I tried a test with my pick up. I sped up to 55 mph and then I stood on the gas and brake at the same time. I slowed down slightly but then the brakes started to fade. Your brakes will hold your car against the engine from a standing start but get it rolling at highway speed and it’s a different story.

    • 0 avatar
      SomeDude

      +1. Mr Niedermeyer, here’s a rebuttal to your ’600 equivalent hp’ argument (the one you made in your Audi debacle article). You really should factor in the kinetic energy of a 1.5 ton car (Camry) doing, say, 55 mph. Like mv^2/2, eh?

    • 0 avatar
      285exp

      Car and Driver magazine already tried this, and found that the brakes on a Camry could easily overcome the engine running at wide open throttle with the test starting at 70 mph.

      http://www.caranddriver.com/features/09q4/how_to_deal_with_unintended_acceleration-tech_dept

  • avatar
    teeasal

    Thank you all Toyota haters/bashers/blamers. Thank you, thank you very much! Without your illogical yet persistant efforts I wouldn’t be able to get $7000 discount for my new Toyota purchase. Thanks again from the bottom of my heart!

    For those who are going to congratulate me for commiting this potentially suicidal purchase, let me tell you that after the Found-On-Road-Dead episode 15 years ago with my superiorly engineered domestic car breaking a crankshaft right in the middle of an 80 mph highway drive, nothing scares me anymore. I can assure you that it was NOT due to driver (me) incompetence. For those who wonder how I lived through such horrible incidence without a scratch, I managed to put the car in neutral immediately, (and it did NOT flip over like the (in)famous Prius owner feared) turned on the emergency lights and coasted it to the shoulder three lanes across, without causing a ten car pile-up, or even a dent in the bumper (not that the undamaged bumper, heck, the whole undamaged car body fetched me anything more than $100 from the car wrecker.)

  • avatar
    Moparman426W

    Even if the black boxes are working correctly the only data that they can pick up is pedal position. They can’t tell whether the pedal is stuck or being depressed by a floor mat, they only know that the pedal was depressed.
    That being said, people do need to use common sense when installing floor mats.


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