Toyota research may indicate driver error

Posted on Jul 14, 2010

The U.S. Department of Transportation has analyzed dozens of black boxes from Toyota vehicles that are said to have been involved in unintended acceleration-related crashes. Early data shows that the throttles in the vehicles were open and the brakes were not engaged, suggesting the drivers were stepping on the accelerator instead of the brake.

The information came from a sample in which the drivers claimed they were braking prior to the accident but that the vehicle failed to stop before crashing.

The Department of Transportation has not confirmed the report nor has it released information from it to the automaker.

Toyota has recalled 8.5 million vehicles because of issues related to unintended acceleration. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association has received 3,000 complaints related to unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles. The government has said that the issue could be related to 75 fatal accidents involving 93 deaths that have occurred over the past 10 years.

The recent data shows that there is no evidence yet of an electronic defect in Toyota vehicles as has been previously suggested. The information still concludes the that reasons specified in the Toyota recalls -- sticking accelerators and floor mats that entrap accelerator pedals -- are to blame for the vehicle crashes.

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