By on August 10, 2010

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.

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21 Comments on “NHTSA Confirms That Toyota Black Box Data Points To Driver Error… Again...”

  • avatar

    I am shocked, SHOCKED to find that some of this was driver error.

  • avatar

    The final ‘conclusion’ is scheduled to be released in the ‘fall of 2011’.

    From NHTSA’s point of view nobody would care by that time if they were right or wrong about this witch hunt, and Toyota’s name would have been dragged along in the mud long enough. So win-win for them, and we shouldn’t expect any exonerations beyond what has been reported on already until that time.

  • avatar

    Obama and the UAW will not be happy with this.

  • avatar

    Oh man.

    I bet this news is killing the UAW. Watch as the UAW comes out with another way to spin this.

    And Ray Lahood(Obama’s hitman) will oddly remain very silent.

    And Agent009 is now fuming trying to figure out hot to continue his Toyota smear campaign.

    • 0 avatar

      oh no!

      how’s mickey gonna spin this one?

    • 0 avatar

      Here is the spin in the media:

      “Feds: No new defects in runaway Toyotas”.

      That is the headline.

      The truth is nothing is wrong with the Toyota electronics as alleged by the Democrats.

      What happened to honesty?

    • 0 avatar

      You gotta love ABC News/AP’S article on this subject:

      Its literally one sentence long. They’ve hitherto had volumes to say on the subject and have been relentless but they can come up with no more then one spiteful sentence when they are contradicted; “Initial probe finds no new Toyota safety issue beyond accelerator, mat problems.”

    • 0 avatar

      Typical for most major media outlets. ABC just happens to be the go-getter for the Toyota issues. Wonder what Brian Ross’s blog looks like today?

  • avatar

    What intrigues me is that 5 of the 58 data recorders failed to work. That’s a nearly 10% failure rate. Unless the 5 units were damaged by the crash (e.g., by water or fire), or didn’t record because the airbag did not deploy, there’s a quality problem.

    Although I’m convinced that driver error and dealer concierge error (re floormats) caused most if not all of the SUA accidents, one question remains. How does one determine whether the black box’s record that the gas pedal was pressed is an indication of the human pressing the pedal, the floormat pressing the pedal, or the electronic poltergeist tricking the computer into thinking the pedal is pressed? Since the black box just looks at the electrical signals from the gas pedal, it has no way to distinguish between the above three cases, correct?

  • avatar

    While I steadfastly follow the advice given to me as a young lad, that I should “believe EVERY rumor” and thus would like to believe that this whole brouhaha was a creation of the Obama administration to save Government Motors, Toyota really did not do themselves any favors with their charade of pretending that the black boxes were unreadable. Except, of course, by the special reader at my girlfriend’s house. In Canada. You wouldn’t know her, she goes to a different school. She’s a model. In Europe. They have different magazines there. And different OBD readers too.

    • 0 avatar

      How was that Toyota’s “charade” instead of bad reporting by the WSJ? As the link notes, Toyota themselves denied that the black boxes were unreadable when TTAC asked. Of course, you can just choose to believe a random unsourced rumor about a random poorly sourced story.

      One problem when you “believe EVERY rumor” is that you have to believe contradictory things.

    • 0 avatar


      I wasn’t talking about VRAM vs. NVRAM. I was referring to the reader

      If you are going to insult someone it helps to actually comprehend what they wrote.

  • avatar

    We were all invited to a public execution but at the appointed time a fight broke out in the crowd and the powers that be relented and let the prisoner go free.

    I never thought I’d find myself defending a car company over a consumer complaint. To all others who helped release the prisoner, it’s been an honor working with you.

    To those that fought for a conviction, I’ve got a long memory.

  • avatar

    It’s about time we started making the driver’s test a little more difficult to weed these mouth breathers out. As a motorcyclist I realize not everyone is cut out to ride a motorcycle, it’s time we realize not everyone is suited to driving either.

  • avatar

    I told everybody that this Toyota SUA was nothing more than media over-hype. Sure, I got lambasted for it…but the fact is…once again, I was right and Toyota suffered dearly.

  • avatar

    Somedude – it’s very flattering to know that people think Toyota has in some way shape or form paid me for something I did. The fact is they have not. I work in the automotive industry, not for it, a concept the paranoid delusional are unwilling or unable to comprehend.

  • avatar

    No electronic bugs? Let me show you something, it’s my shocked face…. Wahhaaaaaaaa! (love those E-Trade babies!)

  • avatar

    Still waiting for one, just one, dataset that proves any Toyota has a problem beyond the operator.

    Just one…

    This is as pathetic as the Audi 5000 Inquisition.

    Nonsense from day one.

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