After five months of investigating sudden-acceleration issues involving Toyota vehicles, U.S. Transportation Department officials said they have identified no safety defects other than the ones reported by Toyota: sticky gas pedals and floor mats that can entrap gas pedals, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Speaking to members of Congress on Tuesday, Aug. 10, federal safety officials said that in more than half of the cases of sudden acceleration studied, data collected from the vehicles' "black boxes" -- or event data recorders -- indicated the driver was not applying the brake at the time of the crash. This finding suggests driver error may be at fault.
The preliminary report doesn't specify driver error as a cause of unintended acceleration. But people familiar with the investigation have suggested that pedal misapplication -- drivers mistakenly applying the gas instead of the brake -- is a likely cause.
In five of the 58 vehicles studied, the data recorders failed to record the conditions in the vehicle at the time of the crash. The recorders from five additional vehicles indicated that the brakes were applied early in the incident or in the middle. In one case both the brake and gas pedals were applied. In another, evidence suggested that the floor mat had likely trapped the gas pedal because braking was sustained.
Toyota has recalled more than 8 million vehicles globally to address the sticky gas pedal and floor mat entrapment issues.
[via Automotive Fleet)
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