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As is usually the case when complaints of unintended acceleration are levied against a vehicle, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has concluded that no specific vehicular defects have been found in 2004-2008 Toyota Tacomas. The mid-sized truck had been under fire from over 400 owners who claimed their trucks had accelerated without them touching the gas resulting in 51 crashes and 12 injuries. According to Toyota, however, the truck features a drive-by-wire system and its computer records any event of a mismatch between the gas pedal and the engine's throttle. None of the trucks involved in accidents reported any such codes. The NHTSA has closed its investigation and believes that driver error is the most likely cause for the vast majority of complaints while a few could be attributed to loose floor mats.

While the fact that the Tacoma has received so many specific complaints is worrisome, we are not big believers in unintended acceleration and tend to agree that publicity of the issue may well have attracted more erroneous claims. Debris stuck under the brake or pedals that are just closer together than some drivers are used to remain possible explanations, but could hardly be considered defects.

[Source: The Detroit Free Press]


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  • 28 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      My 06 likes to downshift & rev up to about 4000 RPM if I encounter any sort of hill in cruise control. And when the compressor kicks in, I have to ensure I have my foot firmly on the brake otherwise the truck will move forward. Other than that, nothing in the past 130,000 miles.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yep, it's the Audi case all over again. Another argument for stricter driver licensing tests. There's a reson why drivers in Germany & Austria have better road manners & control that here in America. I know many people here in US that use both their feet in an Automatic! (Left for braking & right for accelerator!!)

      Hyundai seems to have solved this problem in their newer models. If you notice closely, in Hyundai Azera & Genesis, the Brake pedal & Accelerator pedal are purposely placed at a slightly different height. This forces drivers to actually move their toes from accelerator & brake pedal, a lot more concious movement. You can't keep your heel on the floor & just slide the toe between the pedals, you have to move your toe.

      Believe me, the movement is concious & there's no chance of someone getting the two pedals confused. There's no penalty because of this extra movement (maybe 1/1000th of a second).

      Sometimes small innovations come from unlikely places.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Brake and throttle pedals at different heights is a Hyundai "innovation"?!? Have you ever even driven a single US OEM car? I can't recall driving a single domestic vehicle that isn't set up this way.

        Personally, I like the pedals closer to the same height for faster transition and easier heel-and-toe downshifts, but your point about conscious action being required to change pedals is valid.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I own a 06 Taco DC 4x4, and I have not experienced this. I do notice that if I don't have my foot planted firmly on the brakes, it does slightly move. As for the pedals being too close to one another? BS! User error!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Perhaps the computer in fact doesn't record a mismatch between the pedal and acceleration? Obviously, that wouldn't show on record. Wouldn't be the first time the company said the car did something it didn't do. I understand there were way more than 400 sold, but 400 owners experiencing the same thing doesn't seem like a coincidence. Once again, there's an issue with Toyota and the company manages to bury it. Just an observation. If you check Toyota's history, you'll see I'm not a conspiracy theorist. lol
        • 6 Years Ago
        The computer indeed is watching ALOT of stuff, but how are the diagnostics? The algorithms can be set very tight and alarm on everything, or very loose and miss many things.

        For example, my g/f's Dad has an '04 Corolla (CA spec, even), which is supposed to be ULEV, so the diagnostics are supposed to detect even very small leaks in the fuel system (this is why leaving the gas cap loose can turn on the check engine light). Well, turns out that several inches of the perimeter of the gas tank was not welded at the factory and it was leaking gas out of there. Surprisingly, the diagnostics did not catch this, despite the fact that he found the leak because he noticed the gas level lower after leaving the car parked several days.

        Sure, this has nothing to do with the throttle system, but if the diagnostic calibration to meet low emissions requirements was botched, who is to say that the throttle system diagnostics don't have a similar problem.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You might surprised by how many things the computer is recording. Comparing throttle position to accelerator pedal position is fundamental for various forms of traction control or stability control, so you can bet your butt that those are on the list of what the computer looks at and logs. With that info, it's pretty easy to match them up to, say, engine RPM to tell what's going on...
      • 6 Years Ago
      If this isn't the FINAL proof I need to raise the requirements to get a driver's license ( a la Bob Bondurant Racing School ), I don't know what is.

      50% of all drivers don't have the skills to operate a vehicle!!!!!!!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Around here, it's the Honda CR-V drivers that don't know what to do 75% of the time. Everybody else, 50%. I deliver pizzas to pay the bills which puts me on the road about 5 hours a day 5 times a week, so I would know. I've seen plenty of cases of "unintended acceleration" and "grabby brakes" but I'd bet my PS3 and my roommate's cat that the only faulty wiring is between the drivers' noggin and their right foot.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "50% of all drivers don't have the skills to operate a vehicle"??!! You're being a little generous with your guess there aren't you Todd? I'd say it's more like 75%
      • 6 Years Ago
      I haven't experienced unintended acceleration in my company's 2008 Tacoma (base model). I could note a possible cause would be extra floor mats that could mash that pedal down, or owners are getting lazy on cleaning their interiors.

      My 1989 Cherokee had unintended WOT, which was very embarrassing (not to mention dangerous), but worked normally after restarting. Oddly, unintended WOT did not happen in the past two years.
      • 6 Years Ago
      My 2003 RAV 4 would do this, but it could not be the floormat issue, because it would happen while i was in cruise crontrol and not even close to the gas pedal, it would even happen in nuetral (i had a stick shift MT) and when coasting to a stop the engine reved itself regularly as if searching for a gear. 20 trips to the dealer and they said it never happend but i watched it annually until the turned the idle really low and that killed the overagressive RPMs.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ive had one incidence of unintended acceleration, granted had just got the car back from hennessey stepped on the gas leaving a convenience store and the car took off at approxiamately 150 mph in a residential area didnt panic managed to convince it to over rev and shot off fuel flow but it definenately showed up on my obd2 monitor so it is being watched by the computer system the freeze frame gave me 3 pages of info regarding the incident. a little disconcerting but hasnt kept me from enjoying the car at speed
      • 6 Years Ago
      Unintended acceleration investigations show that drivers who hit the accelerator but thought it was the brake cause this effect. Think about it. If you think you are braking and the car accelerates, your tendency is to push harder and harder. You have a godawful, bearings-lost experience--even if you don't crash--and cognitive dissonance and memory being what they are, only further your resolve that it was the vehicle (not you) at fault. Back when this issue almost killed off Audi, it was determined that their pedal placement could be improved, but it was still the driver hitting the wrong pedal.
        • 6 Years Ago
        About 10 % of drivers do that. The performance driving schools deal with it all the time.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Japanese cars do seem to have smaller and closer spaced pedals, which is part of why I prefer them. I followed this from the beginning and the Tacoma had the same number of complaints as any pickup truck when the story first came to light despite what the original whack job thought he saw in the numbers. Then as if by magic the complaints quadrupled, a lot of them "rememberings" of something happening months or years before but not repeating since.

      Personally I don't like the way DBW has felt in the cars I have driven with it, always with a slight hesitation as the computer presumably averages it's input readings to avoid spikes. Ironically I would avoid it because of this extra layer of safety.

      • 6 Years Ago
      I sometimes get engine surge from my 94 S15 Jimmy but its barely enough to move the car at idle. I hear the engine rev a little, see the tach move a touch and can feel a bit more pressure on the brake pedal but it doesn't cause the car to lurch forward. That's caused by human error.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I had some unintended throttle in a 08 Ford SD- push on the brake pedal hard, and it will go right down to the go pedal. Then you just need your foot off to the side a bit.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Sounds like a nice "heel-and-toe" arrangement to me!
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