The U.S. Department of Transportation said Tuesday that there was no link between electronic throttles and unintended acceleration in Toyota Motor Corp vehicles
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “We enlisted the best and brightest engineers to study Toyota’s electronics systems, and the verdict is in. There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas.”
The report, released Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said that the mechanical safety defects identified more than a year ago — including sticky accelerator pedals and pedals trapped by floor mats — “remain the only known causes for these kinds of unsafe, unintended acceleration incidents.”
However, the report said that most of the incidents NASA and DOT engineers examined occurred at low speed and appeared to be caused by driver error, with the driver inadvertently stepping on the gas rather than the brake, or in some bases depressing both pedals at once.
Toyota, which has put electronically controlled throttles in its vehicles since 2002, has consistently said those systems were safe.
The recalls have posed a major challenge for the world’s No. 1 automaker, which has scrambled to protect its reputation for safety and reliability.
Toyota still faces numerous civil lawsuits related to the recalls, and experts estimate the total potential liability of those suits is nearly ten-billion dollars.