Aang Sunu

Toyota says acceleration probe far from finished

Posted by aangsunu on 16 July 2010

Source : Associated Press via Yahoo Finance
NEW YORK (AP) — Toyota is “not anywhere near close” to drawing any firm conclusions from its probe of unintended acceleration reports and doesn’t plan to disclose its findings until the government finishes its own investigation, a company spokesman said Thursday.

Toyota Motor Corp. engineers have investigated more than 2,000 reports of surging cars. Several government agencies, including NASA and the Transportation Department, are conducting their own probes into complaints of unintended acceleration as well, but their findings aren’t due until as late as next year.

“It’s important to allow others … to complete their investigations without our findings providing any sort of influence,” Michels said.

Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, reported that the government had analyzed dozens of data recorders in Toyota vehicles involved in crashes blamed on unintended acceleration and found the throttles were open and the brakes were not engaged. That suggests drivers were to blame, stepping on the gas pedal when they intended to step on the brakes.

Michels said Toyota has found a number of causes for unintended acceleration among the complaints it has investigated so far, including misplaced floormats or stacked floor mats and sticky pedals. Among complaints where the driver said the brake pedal was depressed, driver error was to blame in most cases, he said. The automaker hasn’t found evidence that electronics are to blame, he said.

The government on Wednesday said it hasn’t reached any conclusions about whether Toyota drivers may be to blame for their vehicles suddenly accelerating.

NHTSA engineers and NASA scientists have been looking into cases of sudden acceleration in Toyotas and studying electronics in cars and trucks. Their investigation is expected to be completed in the fall.

In addition, the National Academy of Sciences is conducting a broader review of unintended acceleration in cars and trucks across the entire auto industry. The panel is expected to report its findings in the fall of 2011.

Toyota has recalled more than 8.5 million vehicles worldwide to address the possibility of unintended acceleration. It is fixing faulty floormats and sticky gas pedals in the cars and trucks.

The government has said unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles may be tied to 93 deaths over the last decade and has fined Toyota $16.4 million for failing to promptly notify the government about defective gas pedals among its vehicles. Congress is weighing an overhaul of auto safety laws in the aftermath of the Toyota recalls.


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