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A Congress-ordered investigation by top auto, mechanical, and electronics experts found that driver error was to blame in most cases of Toyota vehicle acceleration. There was no link to electronic defects found.
"There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas" -- Ray LaHood

Like a blockbuster trial, the verdict of Congress's probe into unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles was eagerly awaited.  Engineering experts at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NASA, Department of Transportation piled through mounds of test data on thousands of vehicles.

Today, Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood released the official verdict: "There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas."

Toyota, the world's largest automaker by volume, recalled 8 million vehicles over the last year due to problems with the floor mats and electronic accelerator pedals.

What the report found was that the only causes of unwanted acceleration were the previously identified ones -- physical problems with the accelerator pedal design that caused it to stick in place and loose floor mats that could jam the accelerator or brake pedals.  These problems were independent from electronic braking glitches that were affecting Toyota Prius hybrid vehicle. 

The report vindicated Toyota's electronic controls, which have been used in Toyota vehicles since 2002.  The news sent shares of the Japanese automaker's stock 4.5 percent upwards. 

The problems left Toyota's image badly stained.  The issues were suspected to be to blame in 89 acceleration-related deaths.  However, only a few of those were definitively substantiated to be due to the sticking pedal or sliding floor mats.  In most cases, driver error was to blame.  In at least one case the driver appeared to be faking the acceleration to try to sue Toyota. 

Toyota has already paid $50M USD to the U.S. federal government for failing to bring them to the attention of federal regulators, despite being aware of them.  With state and local lawsuits, the automaker could face an estimated $10B USD liability, according to a Reuters report. 

About a year ago, President Akio Toyoda paid Congress a visit to personally apologize for the problems and cover-up.  He stated he was "deeply sorry" for these issues.



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Well Toyota still does have throttle problems.
By cyberguyz on 2/9/2011 10:27:00 AM , Rating: 1
I have taken this up with Toyota already and awaiting a recurrance. While definitely not a stuck throttle problem, I do attribute this to their 'drive by wire' throttle system .

I own a 2010 Toyota Venza. When I purchased it I was assured by Toyota that they had applied all throttle fixes to this car at the factory. I even went so far as to check the manufacture date to be sure it was covered in the factory fixes.

One day driving to work after sitting in -27c temperatures, I drove the car until its engine was fully warmed up. AFTER warmup, whenever I pused the gas pedal more than halfway down, the throttle would cut out for about 1/.3 second, then cut back in violently, then repeat every second or so. The roads were dry. Needless to say I turned right around and *slowly* made my way back home.

When I took it to the dealer later that morning, the car did not do this. As well after the dealer checked out the car's black box, there were no events registered that the car did this. Nor after checking with Toyota Canada were there any reports registered.

My only thought on this is that Toyota implemented a throttle bypass if the brakes are touched (I didn't touch the brakes but if the computer was glitching...). Frankly if I were pulling out into incoming traffic, I would be dead meat.




By GreenEnvt on 2/9/2011 11:59:11 AM , Rating: 2
That symptom could also be something like fuel pump going bad, fuel injectors, or frozen fuel line.
While it's also possible it was some computer glitch, I'd think the other possibilities are more likely.


By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 2/9/2011 12:32:29 PM , Rating: 2
It might also be the traction control system. You are supposed to turn that off in totally icy conditions so the system doesn't seek a wheel with traction non-stop. This would cause the same symptoms: apply throttle, wheel slips, stop throttle, seek wheel with traction, apply throttle, wheel slips, etc. Press the traction control button to turn it off if this happens again, or check the traction control light in the instrument cluster, and if it is blinking or totally red, then disengage the system.


RE: Well Toyota still does have throttle problems.
By Alexvrb on 2/9/2011 5:16:37 PM , Rating: 2
He said the roads were dry. But tell me again who recommends disabling TCS in icy conditions? Modern TCS operates a lot faster than you think it does. I've seen some TCS systems demonstrated. In one case they put a professional driver in a BMW test car and the vehicle couldn't make it up a slippery slope with TCS DISABLED even after repeated attempts, carefully modulating throttle and brake manually, etc. With TCS enabled it crawled right up it with relatively minimal fuss. The system is not only faster than a human, and can modulate brakes on individual wheels, but it can also detect slip quickly on a per-wheel basis.

ABS, TCS, limited slip FTW. Disable only when having fun, preferably if you know what you're doing, and preferably in dry conditions.


By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 2/10/2011 12:04:15 PM , Rating: 2
Toyota recommends turning it off on the AWD vehicles in conditions where there is ice under every wheel. I owned a 2009 Venza, and the delivery person warned me about this. Apparently their control systems get freaked out and constantly seek a wheel with traction. BMW is probably a more sophisticated system, or controls only two wheels perhaps? I don't know. I missed the dry language.


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