Crash data suggests driver error in Toyota accidents
July 14, 2010
According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Department of Transportation has analyzed data from the vehicles involved in accidents caused by sudden acceleration, which led to Toyota, the world's top automaker, recalling a large number of automobiles. Early analysis showed that the throttle was wide open and the brakes weren't engaged when the cars crashed, and suggests that the accidents may have been caused by drivers unintentionally flooring the accelerator instead of the brakes. The U.S. Department of Transportation did not confirm this report.
However, Toyota is still under federal investigation for a number of known issues with its cars' acceleration. The accelerator is known to not return to idle after it has been released, and the floor mats are known to trap the accelerator pedal. Toyota is also suspected of having electronic glitches in its computer-controlled throttle systems, but released a statement on Wednesday saying that its investigations found no problems in the throttle systems.
Over the years Toyota has received more than 3000 complaints about sudden acceleration. These may have caused up to 75 fatal crashes that led to 93 deaths. Due to these accidents, Toyota provided the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with ten event data recorders from cars involved in accidents. However, the NHTSA has only managed to confirm that one of these accidents was caused by malfunctions in the car – an accident in California this August that was caused by the floor mat trapping the gas pedal in a depressed position.
The NHTSA, in conjunction with NASA, has begun a broader study into what caused these accidents, however conclusions aren't expected for months. The ongoing lawsuits against Toyota could result in more than $10 billion of damages.
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