Home / Auto News / News article: BREAKING: Toyota Unintended Acceleration Is B.S., According To NHTSA And D.O.T., Driver Error Blamed - AutoGuide.com News
 |  Jul 13 2010, 4:22 PM

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While Toyota takes a lot of flack for having a product line that’s geared more towards the common people than enthusiasts, many speculatedthat the scandal regarding Toyota’s unintended acceleration accusations was largely a combination of schadenfreude and political motivated rhetoric. People love to see the big guy take a fall, and this was no exception.

Now, a report from the Wall Street Journal says that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has analyzed vehicle data and their findings are consistent, showing that at the time of the incidents, the throttle was wide open while the brakes were not applied. This suggests that drivers mis-applied the pedals. Only one case, a fatal crashing involving a runaway Lexus ES350, where the throttle became stuck because of an improperly designed floormat. Toyota immediately issued a recall for the problem.

[Source: Wall Street Journal]

  • Toyotasux

    How much did Toyota pay you to write that?

  • Warren Pegram

    Being an engineer who was active in the Audi case, I have followed this closely.
    As was the case with Audi, but not officially shown, the Toyota ‘unintended acceleration’ is shown to be driver error. The tests run on Audi where drivers were subjected to sudden stop decisions when frightened (such as a snake suddenly thrust at the driver), they nearly invariably hit the accelerator by mistake. One possible reason proposed that in an emergency drivers leaned toward the door thus making the mistake of the pedals likely no matter what caused the fright..
    In this case I believe Toyota has ‘black box’ data and thus demonstrated the brake not pressed but accelerator was to NHSTA and DOT. All those salivating lawyers can crawl back to their offices. Real question is just how many other manufacturers have similar ‘black box’ programmed in their ECU.

  • Robert

    Then is still the point: If there is a electronical fault, that the signal for the brake got confused with the signal of the accelerator. So the driver pressed the brake very hard, but the computer only receives a signal that the accelerator is pressed. Then the black-box will record that the accelerator was pressed, and not the brake. So.. ..the black-box is only recording what the ECU has monitored, which could be something different then really happend.

    Then again, NHSTA and others have turn the ECU and all electronical connections up-side-down and in-side-out and found no evidence that either the ECU or electronics could screw up the signal. And then again, the brake has a mechanical (hydrolic) backup above the electronic one. So there should still be enough brake-force in the car to stop it when the brake is pressed, even when the ECU thinks it should turn the throttle wide open.

  • Libe R. Tarian

    Who was stupid enough to believe this wasn’t always a political play on superficial data by the real criminals in charge of UAW, NHTSA and Government Motors protecting overpriced US labor and a runaway hybrid technology deficit? There should be penalties made against the agencies and parties who slandered Toyota in this deliberate act of economic warfare.

    I own or owned, Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Mercedes, Porsche, Subaru, Nissan and Toyota. I can honestly say that the 3 Toyota’s I’ve owned still reign supreme by my value measurements against initial and operational cost, reliability and product longevity over every vehicle I’ve had. While they may not be the fastest, most efficient or sexiest … they definitely win me for being toughest.

    I’m hopeful that when the facts are uncovered Toyota will be vindicated. In the end they will be a stronger company. I put my money where my mouth is as well. I only own automotive stock in Toyota and Ford. I have a good ole Toyota feeling that when the economy starts firing up so will Toyota Motors share price.

  • John

    I guess people are idiots when driving Toyota’s but have not trouble distinguishing between the brake and accelerate pedal in Honda’s or domestic autos. No answers here, only more questions.

  • Nate K

    If this holds true, Toyota is going to be recognized for stepping up and taking care of the customer, at a huge expense.

  • F B Oldham

    There is a lot of confusion apparently between unintended acceleration and stuck throttles. They aren’t the same and while a stuck throttle, if it’s stuck wide open, could result in the car continuing to accelerate when its driver intended to take his foot off the gas, the throttle hasn’t moved of its own accord. There is only one “black box” that records brake application and throttle pedal position and that’s the airbag control unit. Unless the airbag deploys, or there is a “non-deployment event”, the recorder won’t store any data.
    However, there is also the “OBD”, the on-board diagnostic recorder that stores codes that can be read to tell the service department what repairs need to be made. Some of these codes might well give useful data about whether the throttle sticks.
    Finally, many qualified accident investigators and reconstructionists know that drivers hitting the wrong pedal is far from unknown. I have seen one instance in which the accelerator pedal was actually bent because the driver was pressing it so hard, thinking he was on the brake.

  • JD

    A full presentation has been released by NHTSA with their findings and their conclusion was driver error.

  • John

    Stupid Toyota drivers are the only ones that can’t tell the skinny pedal from the fat one….don’t buy it.

  • Chad

    I blame this on automatics. People have become so lazy in their cars that they no longer think while driving. We have power windows. We have power door locks…that lock themselves when you exceed 15 MPH. Some have automatic wiper blades. All of that automation has allowed the average driver become more stupid. It frees up time to text, I suppose. ;)

    Two decades of driving a manual, and I have never confused my gas for my brake pedal. In an emergency, the first thing I do is my left foot goes down. For your automatic drivers, that is the clutch pedal I am referring to. You see, being able to disengage the tranny is a good thing, a manual form of traction control, you might say.

  • Mike

    Dont blame the automatics. I confused the pedals on a standard transmission 35 years ago and didnt realize it till I came to a stop narrowly averting an accident.My own stupidity. As hard to believe as it is, this does happen.

  • Darin

    While the toyota fans smile with glee, the sad truth is that the real conspiracy is Toyota’s hiring of ex-NHTSA employees, denial of a problem they knew about for nearly a decade, and trying to cover it up. Sadly this cover up will apparently continue. Tacoma pickups have 32 times the rate of UIA events over the mean avg. of all other makes as per NHTSA data. Over 100 people have died in UIA events in Toyota products while in the last decade almost NOBODY has died in an UIA accident in ALL other makes put together as per NHTSA data! As astute commenters have pointed out, are only Toyota drivers stupid enough to kill themselves?! Plenty of documented events, and even a few vehicles presented to the Toyota dealers with the brakes still smoking and the engine still at full throttle in park trying to drive them selves away while the techs are examining them! Was THIS mistaking the pedals?! CLEARLY what has happened here is the same as the Bank bailouts – Toyota is ‘too big’ to fail. The U.S. gov’t has now rolled over like the NHTSA did 3 years ago. My extensive researching on this topic has revealed what a lying, denying and malfeasant company toyota is….bordering on “evil!” to quote an unnamed american toyota plant employee! Toyota has cut costs in engineering, testing and material quality. Toyota ALWAYS minimally engineered their vehicles. Astute computer engineers I’ve read have commented that if no trouble codes or system faults are recorded that it essentially means nothing when defective chips and boards are operational but but potentially defective. The space shuttle has 5 computers so if one is faulty the other 4 can intervene and over ride! As per the 3 boeing 737 planes that went down…the black boxes showed the tail fin in a certain direction which confused engineers for years – until they discovered that the black box data was wrong (because of the information fed to it by sensors) and that the tail fins were actually the opposite direction that the EDR box claimed, due to a sensor or defective component, which CLEARLY caused the crashes, and if this wasn’t discovered, they would be blamed on the pilots! If upon basic diagnostic tests(which can’t reveal minute, specific electronic defects) no problems are found on the Toyota’s, then how the heck would one expect accurate information of brake pedal and throttle pedal position data to be obtained from the same faulty cpu system off the EDR when the EDR isn’t a redundant system (remember the space shuttle has FIVE seperate/redundant computer systems!) Why doed the NHTSA back up toyota here when NOBODY could access the EDR data but Toyota! Toyota refused when court ordered many times to give up EDR DATA, and in cases where they did reveal EDR crash data one type of data was available in one crash event yet wouldn’t be in another – clearly Toyota was picking and choosing what data they’ed reveal if any! Methinks Toyota showed the NHTSA what they wanted too – they both know there is a real problem but the congress circus show, the fine, and the obama gm conspiracy morons made it better to pretend this isn’t a serious problem and let it slide. TOO BIG TO FAIL! THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DESERVE MUCH BETTER!

  • dave schipsi

    The way I see it if it is true that Toyota has a large disproportionate number of complaints as reported (no one seems to dispute the numbers) then it’s one of these problems. 1: Toyota has something wrong or something could be better about their cars. 2: Toyota has a lot of bad drivers. 3: Toyota has a lot of dishonest drivers. 4: Some combination of all or some of the above. I think 4 is the correct answer.

  • morris danoff

    Toyota must believe that all americans are dumb, camouflaging the issue
    is not for toyota’s best interest. To save face and get your good name
    back is very simple, you should know the answer. Feel free to write me
    if you don’t know it.

  • Libe R. Tarian
  • Ed

    Well, unintended acceleration would be realy scary, and I’m sure people have had it happen. But it simply hasn’t happened the way some of the stories are told. It just can’t.

    The thing is, the brakes on your car are stronger than your engine. Even if the throttle is open all the way, the brakes will stop the car. Even if they are in poor shape, they certainly will slow the car dramatically. I just don’t believe there is any scenario where you car starts to accelerate and the brakes, front and rear, fail completely at the same time.

    This has been tested several times. I read an article in Car and Driver where they did exactly this- push the gas down all the way, hold it there and try to stop the car. The cars always stopped.

    Just to clear up one response above- the brakes aren’t activated by an electronic signal. When you push the brake pedal you are directly acting on the master cylinder that delivers hydrolic pressure to the brakes. There aren’t any electronics that can malfunction that will prevent the brakes from working.