[UPDATED] Braking News! Government Report Clears Toyota Software as Cause of Sudden-Acceleration Problems

Categories: Main, OC Media
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UPDATE, FEB. 24, 12:47 P.M.: In my mailbox yesterday was a recall notice from Toyota for my wife's Highlander.

Today, I learned she is not alone: Having already recalled nearly 8 million of its models in the U.S., Toyota announced it is calling back another 2.17 million to correct brake- and acceleration-pedal interference issues--in other words, floor mats sticking to the pedals.

My wife's recall concerns a master brake cylinder cup.

elizabeth-james-prius.jpg
Courtesy of Elizabeth James
Elizabeth James, who was quoted in the Weekly cover story, was driving on an interstate when her Prius accelerated out of control. She crashed through a forest and landed in a river.
ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 8, 1:14 P.M.: There is no link between unintended acceleration and electronic throttles in Toyota cars and trucks, according to a government report issued today after a 10-month investigation.

Congress ordered the probe after Toyota recalled nearly 8 million of its best-selling models in the U.S. over defective floor mats and accelerator pedals. A harsh public, media and legal backlash against the the world's largest automaker followed.

The Weekly was actually in front of the complaints with an April 22, 2009, cover story by Paul Knight, who interviewed Prius owners with horror stories about their cars inexplicably crashing through forests, garage doors and gas stations.


Meanwhile, high-profile legal battles against Toyota have been playing out in Santa Ana courtrooms.

That's where a federal judge combined several class-action and personal-injury complaints against the automaker into one massive lawsuit that is headed for trial in 2013. It's before U.S. District Judge James Selna in Santa Ana because his federal district includes Torrance, home of the automaker's U.S. headquarters.


Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas separately filed an unfair-business-practices suit against Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc., punctuating his March 2010 announcement with, "We need to make sure that when Toyota says, 'Oh, what a feeling' and, 'Moving Forward,' they are talking about great cars."

That case centers more on whether Toyota knew its cars had problems while selling them to consumers. But when it comes to the issue of sudden acceleration, there is no connection to Toyota's software-driven throttles, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said this morning while releasing the probe that culled the investigative talents of NASA engineers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The cause of the problems? According to the feds, it's the same thing Toyota has maintained all along: loose floormats and sticking accelerator pedals.

The government findings cheered not only Toyota brass, but also its shareholders. Toyota's U.S.-traded shares jumped 4.5 percent in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

So far, Toyota has paid nearly $50 million in government fines. Analysts estimate the automaker faces up to $10 billion in potential liability from the lawsuits pending in Santa Ana and courtrooms around the country.

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9 comments
Modern Wheels
Modern Wheels

johnl is right this mate can be the problem. as in my toyota corolla mate used to occupy space between base and mate, and it was needed to be removed if i want my full clutch and brake work. and it shouldnt be in a position to make accelerator stuck when i press it.

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salt lake city truck
salt lake city truck

Recalling is a common factor in world car market.Now my eye is to buy one Toyota truck soon. Is there any pick-up truck in your knowledge?

Bill T.
Bill T.

I believe that the government report said that the investigation team was unable to find a defect in the electronics (includes the software) that might cause unintended acceleration. This is not the same as what has been claimed by top government mouths that there categorically is no problem (not the first time that engineers’ statements have been misquoted/twisted by the PHBs). If the problem is an intermittent caused by a rare combination of events then the team’s chance of actually trapping the error are somewhere between slim and a gnat’s ass. I speak from over 25 years of developing, maintaining and debugging complex systems. Modern cars have multiple computers running hundreds of thousands to millions of lines of software code. I can GUARANTEE you that there are errors in the software. They can only hope that they have caught all of the critical errors, but there is no way they can be positive.

johnl
johnl

The defect responsible for out of control Toyotas is behind the firewall, above the floormat, and in front of the seat.

Bert
Bert

Was driving a Yukon now a Prius, Best car I have ever owned. Down with the Unions!

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