: Most Toyota "unintended acceleration" cases were driver error

07-14-10, 11:35 AM
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703834604575364871534435744.html?m od=djemalertNEWS

The U.S. Department of Transportation has analyzed dozens of data recorders from Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles involved in accidents blamed on sudden acceleration and found that at the time of the crashes, throttles were wide open and the brakes were not engaged, people familiar with the findings said.

The results suggest that some drivers who said their Toyota and Lexus vehicles surged out of control were mistakenly flooring the accelerator when they intended to jam on the brakes. But the findings donít exonerate Toyota from two known issues blamed for sudden acceleration in its vehicles: sticky accelerator pedals and floor mats that can trap accelerator pedals to the floor...

...NHTSA has received more than 3,000 complaints of sudden acceleration in Toyotas, including some dating to early last decade, according to a report the agency compiled in March. The incidents include 75 fatal crashes involving 93 deaths.

However, NHTSA has been able to verify only one of those fatal crashes was caused by a problem with the vehicle, according to information the agency provided to the National Academy of Sciences. That accident last Aug. 28, which killed a California highway patrolman and three passengers in a Lexus, was traced to a floor mat that trapped the gas pedal in the depressed position.


In what could turn into a repeat of the infamous Audi 5000 case more than two decades ago, driver error, not the vehicle, appears to be the cause of a number of Toyota unintended acceleration cases.

A government analysis of vehicle data has found people were mashing the gas pedal and not the brake at the time, according to a person with knowledge of the data who did not want to be identified because the information is not yet public...

...Toyota spokesman John Hanson said the automaker hadn't seen NHTSA's data, but "certainly, pedal misapplication" is among issues the company has discovered in its own investigations of more than 3,000 reports of unintended acceleration.

Confirms what I've always thought about the whole Toyota witch hunt in the media, overblown sensationalism. Toyotas aren't exactly known for "rapid acceleration", and the brakes on any modern car can easily overpower the throttle at WOT. Also confirms what I've always thought about Toyota drivers, they don't know how to drive.

07-14-10, 11:52 AM
so really, there are that many idiots out there?

The Tony Show
07-14-10, 11:54 AM
This does nothing to change the fact that Toyota willfully concealed problems with their accelerators, which inevitably resulted in the death of the Highway Patrolman and his three passengers.

Five days before Toyota Motor Corp. announced a massive recall, a U.S. public relations executive at the automaker warned colleagues in an internal e-mail: "We need to come clean" about accelerator problems, according to documents obtained Wednesday.

"We are not protecting our customers by keeping this quiet," wrote Irv Miller, group vice president for environment and public affairs. "The time to hide on this one is over."

The recently retired Miller wrote the e-mail on Jan. 16 as Toyota officials were on their way to Washington to discuss the problems with federal regulators. On Jan. 21, Toyota announced it would recall 2.3 million vehicles to address sticky pedals in six vehicle models.

The e-mail reveals deep concerns within the company's leadership that Toyota wasn't dealing with the safety problems effectively and could damage the automaker's sterling reputation for producing safe and reliable autos.

The company already had announced a recall of more than 4 million vehicles in the U.S. in late September to replace gas pedals that could get stuck in floor mats and cause sudden acceleration.

The documents show that Toyota's European division, at the same time, told its distributors it was "identifying a production improvement and repair procedure to address complaints by customers in those countries of sticking accelerator pedals, sudden rpm increase and/or sudden vehicle acceleration" not caused by floor mats.

"We better just hope that they can get NHTSA (the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) to work with us in coming (up) with a workable solution that does not put us out of business," Miller wrote.

"I hate to break this to you but WE HAVE A tendency for MECHANICAL failure in accelerator pedals of a certain manufacturer on certain models," Miller's e-mail began with several words in capital letters.

My problem since square one has not been a defect- all cars have defects, and demonizing a company over it is silly. My problem has been Toyota's obfuscation of the truth (http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20100409a1.html) that they knew of mechanical problems with the pedals, and only came forward with it after a NHTSA investigation. That's reprehensible behavior, and three people (maybe more) are dead because of it. The Toyota company will never see a dime of my money as a result.

07-14-10, 12:44 PM
We already knew that some of the folks saying that a stuck accelerator caused their accident was actually due to them hitting the accelerator vs the brakes. But this doesn't account for the runaways going down the highway at high speeds and had in fact attempted to use the brakes, which were burned out trying to stop the cars, and like the article says.

"But the findings donít exonerate Toyota from two known issues blamed for sudden acceleration in its vehicles: sticky accelerator pedals"

The cars have/had a definite design issue that the company has been aware of and attempted to keep out of sight.

07-14-10, 12:51 PM
I agree with "The Tony Show," it wasn't so much that there was a problem it was the way that Toyota tried to handle it. Audi did the same thing with the same results back in the 1980's. Unless foreign manufacturers are willing to abide by our laws, in spirit as well as the letter of the law, they shouldn't be allowed to sell in the U.S. This goes for all products marketed here, whether marketed by a U.S. company or not. Free trade is is fine, but allowing inferior and unsafe products to be sold in this country is not OK. Once again it all comes down to effective enforcement of existing laws and regulations. For far too many years, forty at least, the regulatory and enforcement arms of the government have been under funded and therefore ineffective. The current worldwide economic disaster that we are, hopefully, digging our way out of is just one example. The enforcement of our immigration laws is yet another. In the case of product safety regulation and enforcement we had better step up our efforts before food stuffs and safety goods from here and abroad begin having a major impact on Americans health and welfare.

07-14-10, 04:38 PM
so really, there are that many idiots out there?

Well, Toyota does sell a LOT of cars.... :p :sneaky: :stirpot:

07-14-10, 11:23 PM
Toyotas aren't exactly known for "rapid acceleration"

LOL, exactly what I thought when I heard the news the first time. I listened in amazement, trying to figure out when Toyota was making cars that were capable of rapid acceleration.

so really, there are that many idiots out there?

Surely you've worked with the public at some point? I know from experience that people can't drive shopping carts, my ankles will forever be in pain. Cars are much bigger and more difficult.

07-15-10, 04:34 AM
I was driving my moms 08 Highlander about a year ago, right before this whole Toyota accelerator thing broke out. I punched it to the floor to see what it had and low and behold when I let off, the car was still accelerating. It was quite terrifying because a pretty sharp banking turn was coming up and I knew it would not stay on the road approaching 120 mph around it... So panicking I push the brakes hard to the floor...not doing much but slowing me down some...Next thing I think is try turning it off but there are no keys or an ignition just a button with 'Start' on it...I push it a few times but nothing...panicking I hold it down for what feels like 5-10 secs, which is a heck of a long time considering the out of control car and panicked state I'm in.

I managed to get it all under control before wrecking, but if I hadn't been on a winding back road with no traffic and my situation happened, I know for certain I would have wrecked somehow.

The problem? Aftermarket floor mats + gas pedal not hinged on floor, the damn pedal got wedged and stuck under the floormat...

I never read much about the whole gas pedal issue, but googling a few stories seems my situation was exactly what others had experienced and I realize I'm very fortunate to not have been in an urban area or crowded street when the pedal got stuck...

07-15-10, 07:42 AM
I was driving my moms 08 Highlander about a year ago, right before this whole Toyota accelerator thing broke out. I punched it to the floor to see what it had and low and behold when I let off, the car was still accelerating.

It was your floormat's fault . .


07-15-10, 02:53 PM
A story (http://jalopnik.com/5588081/toyota-planted-wsj-driver-error-story-so-what) in Jalopnik says the story in the WSJ was a Toyota plant.

NHTSA, the body responsible for examining the Toyota pedal problems in the US, has firmly rebutted claims the story came from the safety organization. An anonymous NHTSA spokeswoman even went so far as to claim "that story was planted by Toyota" to the publication just-auto. She went on,"Toyota is the source - yes we know that for definite. It is [the] Toyota PR machine. We knew they were going to put it out."

We received a somewhat similar response — along with a claim that there were still months left to go in the investigation — when we spoke with a NHTSA employee (who wished to remain nameless) earlier this afternoon.

I tend to be skeptical of unnamed sources, but I don't believe NHTSA buys the argument that it's mostly driver error, considering this April 19 statement from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood I found on the NHTSA Web site:

“By failing to report known safety problems as it is required to do under the law, Toyota put consumers at risk,” said Secretary LaHood. “I am pleased that Toyota has accepted responsibility for violating its legal obligations to report any defects promptly. We are continuing to investigate whether the company has lived up to all its disclosure obligations.”

The $16.375 million fine for Toyota is the largest civil penalty ever assessed against an auto manufacturer by NHTSA. This penalty relates specifically to both the “sticky pedal” and “slow to return pedal” defects, which resulted in Toyota's recall of approximately 2.3 million vehicles in the U.S. in late January.

Sure, there are cases of dumb asses hitting the gas instead of the brakes, but sheesh, if your car started going faster instead of slower, wouldn't you look to see if your foot was on the wrong pedal? Maybe people are that stupid, but I highly doubt most of those 75 fatal crashes were caused by driver error.