This isn’t so much a news item as a “Congress finally figured it out” item. A preliminary report by the National Research Council, recently revealed to congress, shows that of 58 Toyota “black box” event data recorders from crashes which occurred during the recall scandal
35 showed that at the moment of impact, the driver hadn’t depressed the brake pedal at all. Fourteen more showed partial braking, while nine showed the brake depressed at the “last second” before the crash.
There were a handful of other results where the brake was pressed early and let go, or in which both the gas and brake pedals were pressed at the same time. There also was one case of pedal entrapment by a floor mat.
In five cases, the electronic recording device failed to work.
The WSJ [sub] notes that the investigation is ongoing, and that no official conclusions have been drawn, but that the finding vindicates an earlier report for which the WSJ had taken mysterious flack. For a complete look at the NRC-NHTSA study, and why it is highly unlikely to ever find a “ghost in the machine” in Toyota’s electronic throttles, check out TTAC’s review of the pre-study NHTSA-NRC presentation.