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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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RE: What I don't get is...
By priusone on 7/14/2010 1:22:37 AM , Rating: -1
You put the vehicle, which had a stuck accelerator, into neutral? Thank heavens it wasn't a Prius.


RE: What I don't get is...
By gamerk2 on 7/14/2010 7:59:42 AM , Rating: 2
Sure, you'll probably blow the engine (depending on how much acceleration), but it WILL stop the acceleration of the car.

RE: What I don't get is...
By Flunk on 7/14/2010 9:09:24 AM , Rating: 3
Only if you're a complete idiot. You put it into neutral and hit the brake. Steer to the side and pull the key. Do it all fairly quickly and you're totally fine.

Besides almost all cars have rev limiters now, especially new ones.

RE: What I don't get is...
By funkyd99 on 7/14/2010 11:08:56 AM , Rating: 2
you'll probably blow the engine shifting into neutral with a stuck accelerator? Ever hear of a "rev limiter"?

RE: What I don't get is...
By hpram99 on 7/15/2010 2:16:47 PM , Rating: 2
This is entirely incorrect and ignorant. Almost every car on the road has rev-limiters to prevent the engine from going into potentially damaging territory. The only potential issues is if you let it bounce on the limit until it overheats (which can take quite a while)

Drivers that lost control are because of their own ignorance, here are 3 solutions:
1. Put car in neutral
2. Turn ignition to "Accessory" to stop engine but retain steering.
3. Don't feather the brakes until they overheat. Hit the breaks HEAVILY to quickly stop before they get too hot.

All of this can be done within a split second. These people should have their licenses revoked until they gain a little knowledge about the 4000lb piece of machinery they barrel down the road in at 60mph.

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings

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