PedalGate: Trumped Up Charges?

A report from The Wall Street Journal has reported about the results of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) investigation into the claims of unintended acceleration involving Toyota’s vehicles.  The WSJ’s report says that the recalls, which have tarnished Toyota’s reputation for quality, not to mention missed sales opportunities and the outlay of cash to fix over 8 million cars, were not caused by faulty electronics: driver error, not stuck gas pedals, are to blame in almost every case.

Recalled Toyota floor mat and gas pedal

After examining dozens of black box data recorders from the crashed Toyotas, the DOT found that in almost all cases, the gas pedal was floored and the brakes weren’t even touched.  I say almost all, because the crash which started the media blitz around the issue, which involved a California highway patrolman in a runaway Lexus.  That crash was determined to be caused by the driver’s floor mat, which trapped the gas pedal in a pushed-down position.

Meanwhile, the NHTSA isn’t commenting, at least until their probe into Toyota’s issues has been completed, which is expected to be months from now.  In regards to the electronic issue which was blamed for lots of crashes, Daniel Smith, NHTSA’s associate administrator for enforcement, recently said, “In spite of our investigations, we have not actually been able yet to find a defect.”

So, while the DOT and perhaps the NHTSA are blaming drivers, Toyota isn’t jumping on that bandwagon, and has said repeatedly that they haven’t found a source for the problems customers are reporting.

I take the results of this first investigation with a grain of salt, as the same results were found in an investigation into the Audi 5000 sedans back in 1989, which also blamed drivers for crashes involving unintended acceleration.

by John Suit

Source: The Wall Street Journal


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