FEDS FIND NO FAULT IN TOYOTA ACCELERATOR ELECTRONICS
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Published on Thu, Aug 12, 2010
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Toyota Prius The initial results presented to congress by a team of NASA and NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Board) experts appear to corroborate Toyota's assertion that there is no electronics-related issue involving unintended accelerator in its vehicles. “Some rare good news for Toyota tonight. Safety experts at the Transportation Department say that so far they have not found any new defects with the electronic systems and no problems beyond the floor mats and sticky accelerator pedals,” said George Stephanopoulos on ABC News. As reported by Chris Woodyard and Jayne O'Donnell of USA Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said “the only causes of ‘unintended acceleration’ continue to be those already identified – sticky gas pedals or floor mats that can become trapped under accelerators.” This is “significant because Toyota critics have alleged that electronics might be at fault in cases of unexplained acceleration,” and “Toyota seized on the report as further proof of what it has contended all along – that engine electronics are not to blame for runaway cars.” In fact, of the 58 data recorders investigators examined, in 35 cases drivers had not braked at all. Toyota released a statement in response to the NHTSA's report: “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. 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. Having conducted more than 4,000 on-site vehicle inspections, in no case have we found electronic throttle controls to be a cause of unintended acceleration. Toyota is committed to listening more attentively to our customers and continuing to investigate unintended acceleration concerns.” NHTSA and NASA officials told three members of Congress in a briefing that the agencies had drawn ‘no conclusion’ on the causes of sudden acceleration, according to Ken Bensinger of the Los Angeles Times. The officials noted that investigations by NHTSA, NASA, and the National Academy of Sciences were ongoing, with final results a year or more away.