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U.S. Study Finds Drivers' Errors Caused Accidents in Toyotas Blamed for Unintended Acceleration

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On: Thu, Aug 12, 2010 at 10:37AM | By: Sherry Christiansen

U.S. Study Finds Drivers' Errors Caused Accidents in Toyotas Blamed for Unintended Acceleration

The latest automotive news in Toyota unintended acceleration court cases indicates that  the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports there has not been any evidence of an electronic cause for the accidents allegedly resulting from sticky gas pedals in Toyota vehicles. After studying data recorders, federal regulators indicated that in as many as 35 out of 58 crashes being blamed on unintended acceleration, the brakes were not even applied by motorists.

The recorders, also known as “black boxes,” were reviewed by the NHTSA, but no evidence of electronic-linked causes of the accidents were found, just as Toyota Corp. had reported. Early findings support Toyota's claim that technicians were unable to find any electronic problems related to the sticky gas pedal cases, and that motorists had confused the accelerator for the brake in many instances.

NHTSA officials reported: “At this early point in its investigation, NHTSA officials have drawn no conclusions about additional causes of unintended acceleration in Toyotas beyond the two defects already known -- pedal entrapment and sticking gas pedals.”

A breakdown of the findings that federal regulators discovered when studying the recorders in cars that were involved in accidents with drivers blaming Toyota for unintended acceleration are as follows;

• 35 cases (60%) show that the brake was never depressed at all before the impact

• NHTSA cited that in 14 accidents the brakes were applied partially

• In 9 cases the brake had been depressed at the last moment, right before impact

• 1 case showed that the accelerator was actually hung up on the floor mat

The Toyota Corporation conducted over 4,000 tests on vehicles and the company was not able to find any evidence that electronic throttle controls were faulty.

According to the company, "Toyota's own vehicle evaluations have confirmed that the remedies it developed for sticking accelerator pedal and potential accelerator pedal entrapment by an unsecured or incompatible floor mat are effective." Toyota also stated, "We have also confirmed several different causes for unintended acceleration reports, including pedal entrapment by floor mats, pedal misapplication, and vehicle functions where a slight increase in engine speed is normal, such as engine idle up from a cold start or air conditioning loads."

The government continues to examine the evidence in order to uncover the reason for the defects and is now working with the United States Space agency and the National Academy of Sciences.


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