Government regulators reportedly told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee recently that their preliminary investigation into sudden, unintended acceleration by certain Toyotas has not been linked to problems with the electronic throttle control systems, as some safety experts had suggested. According to a news source, no new safety defects have been found beyond floor mat entrapment and sticking accelerator pedals that led the automaker to recall about 9.5 million cars and trucks since October 2009.
The initial probe by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, expected to be completed in fall 2010, reportedly revealed that brakes were not applied in 35 of 58 cases of sudden acceleration. Data also showed that in about half of the 35 cases, the accelerator was depressed just before a crash, indicating that the drivers stepped on the accelerator rather than the brakes. Additionally, 14 cases showed partial braking, one case showed pedal entrapment, another showed both the brake and the accelerator pedal had been applied, and other cases were inconclusive.
In a statement released August 10, 2010, Toyota said that its own evaluations have confirmed that “the remedies it developed for sticking accelerator pedal and potential accelerator pedal entrapment by an unsecured or incompatible floor mat are effective. Having conducted more than 4,000 on-site vehicle inspections, in no case have we found electronic throttle controls to be the cause of unintended acceleration.” See Associated Press, August 10, 2010.