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NHTSA Will Not Investigate Toyota and Lexus Unintended Acceleration Cases

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 product liability 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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