A safety scandal over sticking accelerators that forced Toyota into a crisis-stricken recall of millions of vehicles may have been overblown, according to tentative findings from a US government investigation that suggest driver error was the cause of most of the Japanese manufacturer\’s \”runaway\” cars.
Yes, as with the runaway Audi scare of the 80s (memorably written up by PJ O\’Rourke), it turns out that the runaway Toyotas were running away because idiot drivers were stamping on the gas pedal:
In preliminary findings delivered to Congress on 58 incidents, investigators found that in 35 cases, the brake was not applied. In a further 14 cases there was only \”partial braking\”. In one case, both the brake and accelerator pedals were depressed and another showed evidence of pedals getting trapped in a floor mat. But the investigation found no evidence of any electronic problem suggested by Toyota\’s critics as a likely cause of crashes.
But while the investigation was going on 9.5 million cars were recalled and Toyota\’s reputation was trashed.
Over in the US there has been more than a little rumbling about this. That perhaps the government has been less than swift in releasing the results of these studies, less than prompt in making clear what was really going on.
That the US government largely owns two of the three domestic auto manufacturers might have something to do with it…..