Going by the indications of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s investigations of the Toyota unintended acceleration cases, an unnamed ‘inside’ source has revealed that it is quite likely that driver error, not the vehicle, was the cause behind the problem.
Since the NHTSA has not yet formally disclosed any information about the conclusion of the investigations, a source – speaking on the condition of anonymity – has revealed that the agency’s analysis of Toyota’s data hints that the drivers were apparently mashing the gas pedal, rather than the brake, at the time of the unintended acceleration.
Meanwhile, Toyota spokesman John Hanson said that the Toyota City, Japan-based automaker had already discovered - in its own probe of over 3,000 reports of unintended acceleration - that “virtually all” motorists mistakenly pushed the accelerator, instead of pressing on the brake pedal.
Noting that Toyota had not yet seen the NHTSA data, the spokesman added that “certainly, pedal misapplication” appears to be the cause behind the unintended acceleration cases of Toyota vehicles, which are equipped with ‘brake-override’ technology that stops a car if the brakes and accelerator are applied at the same time.
Incidentally, pedal misapplication by the drivers already has a precedent – earlier too, NHTSA had found pedal misapplication to be the cause behind the acceleration complaints which plagued the 1978-86 Audi 5000 sedan and almost drove the vehicle out of the US!