US Government Clears Toyota of All Sudden Acceleration Claims

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Audi unintentional acceleration, take two? If you've been on the earth long enough to remember the sudden acceleration fiasco that plagued Audi, a premium automaker on the rise in the early to mid '80s and brought to its knees by media hype about drivers who, it was later concluded, misplaced their feet and pressed the go pedal instead of the brake, you might experience a little déjà vu as you read on.

Toyota, as you likely know, has been under fire recently for similar claims. The Japanese automaker has received more than 3,000 reports of sudden acceleration in the US, and now, after more media hype than Audi experienced (thanks to the immediate viral spread of news via the internet, albeit without a television news show that fabricated a reenactment) the U.S. Department of Transportation has concluded that the real culprit is driver error.

Investigators analyzed data recorders from numerous Toyota vehicles, says the Wall Street Journal, and each car's throttle was fully depressed while the brakes were not actuated at all. To make matters clearer, of the 75 fatal accidents blamed on unintentional or sudden acceleration, only one shows the vehicle as being the cause of the incident. In this his incident, where a Lexus ES 350 killed a California Highway officer and three passengers in August of last year, a sticking floor mat was blamed. Toyota quickly recalled all floor mats that could potentially cause a similar problem, and no similar issues have been reported. Incidentally, Toyota Canada uses different floor mats and had no similar problems.

Additionally, the U.S. Transportation Department officials went on record to say that they haven't found any electronic problems with Toyota vehicles that could have lead to an unintended/sudden acceleration accident. Only the floor mat issue and a problem with sticky accelerator pedals, which were slow to return, have been noted as potential problems, and these have been dealt with via recalls.

The aftermath of the sudden acceleration debacle has yet to be determined, but Toyota has certainly suffered from a problem it appears it had little to nothing to do with. Rebuilding an image that has gone through more than 8 million US recalls will be difficult, and likely Toyota will do its best to tell its side of the story in expensive add campaigns.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Lexus, Toyota, Prius,

Organizations: Toyota, Lexus

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