The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently announced that
they will not be launching a formal investigation into claims of unintended
acceleration in Lexus and Toyota vehicles. This is the second time a probe
has been denied this year for the same issue – the last denial came
in May when NHTSA refused to look into claims of sudden acceleration problems
in up to 1.6 million Toyota Corollas.
The original petition filed by a California man relied on Event Data Recorder
data gathered from three separate
car accidents involving a 2009 Lexus, a 2010 Toyota Corolla, and a 2009 Toyota Camry.
The NHTSA determined that the crashes were not the result of unintended
acceleration, but was consistent with “pedal misapplication,”
or using the accelerator pedal instead of the brake. After analyzing the
data, the NHTSA determined that there was no braking recorded by the EDR
in any of the three accidents, which occurred when the drivers were attempting
to park their vehicles at low speeds. They contend that mistaking the
accelerator for the brake seems to be the consistent cause of each accident.
This news comes after the NHTSA spent years investigating millions of Toyota
vehicles for unintended acceleration issues linked to a host of mechanical
interference issues, including faulty floor mats. Toyota recently recalled
more than 10 million vehicles worldwide in 2009 and 2010 after four fatal
crashes occurred when accelerator pedals were trapped by floor mats. Review
found then, as now, that there was no evidence of any electronic glitches
causing unintended acceleration.
Since the recall crisis, Toyota has revamped its safety practices and dramatically
rebounded in recent quality surveys. The company has made numerous settlements
in class action suits alleging nearly $1.63 billion in unintended acceleration claims.
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