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Driver error cited as cause of fatal crashes in 74 of 75 cases

Toyota, once lavished with praise for its reputation for quality and reliability, took more than a few blows to the chin earlier this year due to concerns of sudden acceleration. The company began recalling many of its popular models – including the Camry, Tundra, Corolla, Highlander, and RAV4 – to replace “sticky” gas pedals.

However, after examining data from 75 fatal crashes which were blamed on “sudden acceleration” due to faulty electronics, the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has come to the conclusion that only one incident was not related to driver error. The incident in question is the high profile crash involving a CHP officer driving a 2009 Lexus ES 350. The vehicle accelerated uncontrollably due to improperly installed floor mats which trapped the accelerator pedal. The crash resulted in the death of four people including the officer.

The NHTSA concluded that the other 74 crashes were a result of driver error -- specifically, drivers were mistaking the accelerator pedal for the brake pedal, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"In spite of our investigations, we have not actually been able yet to find a defect" with Toyota's electronic throttle control said NHTSA associate administrator for enforcement, Daniel Smith.

"We're bound and determined that if it exists we're going to find it. But as yet, we haven't found it."

The NHTSA hasn't completely cleared Toyota, however. The agency still notes that improperly designed floor mats and sticky accelerators that were slow to return to the idle were to blame for some crashes. Toyota itself acknowledged these finding back in January. However, phantom electronic gremlins causing Toyota vehicles to suddenly lose their minds appears to have been tossed out of the equation.

The sudden acceleration drama resulted in the U.S. Department of Transportation fining Toyota $16.4 million for deceiving officials about the widespread nature of stick accelerator pedals. There are also over 100 pending lawsuits against Toyota regarding sudden acceleration.

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I'm not surprised
By zmatt on 7/13/2010 11:13:16 PM , Rating: 2
The systems behind accelerator pedals don't exactly change that often. The likelyhood of Toyota using some new and unproven design in a car like the Camry or IS is just silly. I find it far more likely that there was user error involved. Toyota is the largest car manufacturer in the world, or at least was before this happened, so there are logically more Toyotas on the road than of other brands. If this is a question of user error and not mechanical failure than unintended acceleration probably occurs at an equal rate among OEMs. With Toyota being bigger it would make sense that this would happen more often. With more customers you will also have more unqualified and stupid customers. if you pair that with a national media that is of late more pro domestic than the attack on Toyota makes more sense.

This isn't to say that Toyota cannot make improvements. Their push to start should shut the engine off when rapidly pushed, as other manufacturers already do. They should never have cut corners on the valve springs, and their consistently dropping quality has been obnoxious. but even with all of that, there is nothing in there that makes Toyota at fault for a moron who can't use the pedals and can't shift into neutral. I find it deplorable and even a little scary that there are people driving that are so checked out of reality that when something goes wrong they can't properly react. I blame it on our driving culture and on our driving education. A friend of mine is Finnish, when he got his driver's license he had to go through a longer and more difficult course that involved safety maneuvers and recovering from a spin on ice. I think we have a lot to learn from how other places approach driving education and responsibility.

RE: I'm not surprised
By chick0n on 7/14/2010 12:15:12 AM , Rating: 1
sadly, that won't happen.

Your local DMV will get lots of law suits from people who're too dumb to get a DL. and a lot of whining little bitches will cry day n night cuz they're too dumb to drive.

I know that in Hong Kong, they even break the DL into Automatic and Manual. Automatic is somewhat easier, but they still required you to go thru snow cones and all other emergency braking test to test your ability to drive. For the Manual, they even will ask you to park your car on a hill ! one little bump on the curb you get a big fat FAIL.

RE: I'm not surprised
By zmatt on 7/14/2010 7:30:57 AM , Rating: 2
That's pretty sad that in Hong Kong they have a better car education and certification program than in the US.

RE: I'm not surprised
By chick0n on 7/14/2010 8:56:54 AM , Rating: 1
Im not saying there is no crappy driver in Hong Kong,but with a harder test, the chances of letting a "blind,retarded fuxk" to slip thru will be significantly lower.

Hell, when I first got my DL years ago, at the road test site, I was like WOW, this shit is so easy even retards can do it,but that fucker failed my first test cuz he said i didn't check the mirrors and stuff before I start, not because I did anything wronng when driving. I was like what the fuxk? I looked and check every f-ing thing, I guess its not just the drivers thats blind, those instructors are fuxking blind too.

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