• Jul 15, 2010
That's the word from Toyota spokesperson Mike Michels on the automaker's investigation of some 2,000 vehicles reported to suffer from unintended acceleration.

Speaking with The New York Times, Michels said that a small amount of Toyota vehicles had issues with sticking accelerators, while a large number of the cases involved the previously recalled floor mats interfering with the pedals. However, he notes, none of these cases have resulted in a crash.

More importantly, and seemingly in-line with The Wall Street Journal's earlier report that human error was likely the cause of most unintended acceleration claims, Michels says "in instances where they reported having their foot on the brake pedal, there is very clear evidence that this is pedal misapplication."

Toyota says that its investigation into all the cases of unintended acceleration remains ongoing, and for its part, NHTSA continues to claim that it has reached "no conclusions" about the causes.

[Source: The New York Times | Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty]


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  • 30 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      What a circus this has become.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Spin, spin, Toyota...
        • 4 Years Ago
        seriously... very quickly we've moved past the wsj plant onto placating customers
      • 4 Years Ago
      "No, we didn't imply that at all. No way."

      (Toyota guy whistles, looks around)
      • 4 Years Ago
      is it really that difficult to push in and let up on a pedal?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Of course Toyota says they're not saying it was all driver fault.

      All the old people that apparently buy Toyotas and then slam on the wrong pedal would get all pissed off and start buying Buicks again :P
        • 4 Years Ago
        @thefourthheat

        But 3000 times? Do you realize how hard it is to get 3000 people to do the same thing? If it's that popular of a mis-step, then it's the car!

        Think of this... If you had a gun and that gun fired bullets because the trigger was in a place that was offset where everyone expected it to be (the wrong place), would you send people away for accidental murders or would you recall the guns, move the triggers and fix the problem!

        If 3000 people have the same problem with the same car, is it the people or the car?
        • 4 Years Ago
        RAndroid, well Toyota's just saying that there were real issues and that at least some people had real problems. Of course the reality is that pretty much all the crashes except that really unlucky cop were probably because old people mashed the gas-but insulting your customers are being idiots isn't really great PR. So of course Toyota can't come out and say that their customers are being idiots, lol.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sorry to hijack your post friend but.... Everyone that voted me down the other day for saying the report on WSJ was BS and it couldn't possibly be 3000 cases of driver error can now KISS MY ARSE! Even Toyota agrees! I didn't bash toyo! I just stated the obvious!
        • 4 Years Ago
        I had a middle-aged woman take out 6 or so cars in the Wake Forest, NC Lowe's Foods parking lot and missed me (on foot) by about 15 ft a couple of months ago. I didn't know a Camry could spin the front tires that hard until that day. Strong black streaks next to the Infiniti SUV she side-swiped. Was it her or the car? I'll probably never know and she was rattled enough not to say.
        • 4 Years Ago
        the correct response would be:
        we are not blaming the drivers for accidents in our cars. however, in our never-ending commitment to driver safety, please understand that our future cars may have to (further) remove driver involvement to prevent accidents.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Aside from the tremendous PR fail, the innuendo raises an interesting question.

      We know the accelerators are drive-by-wire, so just because the recorders show that the long pedal was pressed doesn't necessarily mean the long pedal was pressed.

      I may be wrong, but I didn't think the brakes were strictly drive-by-wire. I thought they still had a direct mechanical link to the braking system. There would be electronics involved trying to detect pedal state, and there are lots of electronics in the game for antilock and stability control, but even if the sensors were wrong, and the owners did have their brakes applied, then the brakes would win over the engine, and the car would slow or stop.

      So if the black boxes do in fact report that gas pedals were applied and brake pedals were not, it really wouldn't matter if we believed the reported gas pedal state. I would be pretty convinced about the reported brake pedal state.

      Then again, *maybe* there exists some unexpected input condition where the antilock brake system is interrupting pressure to the brakes. Traction control would only apply brakes (or reduce power), not release brakes. Do any current antilock systems provide extended periods of reducing braking pressure, or are they all only capable of brief interruptions? Where I'm going with this is that even if there actually were some logic fault that floored the gas, I can't think of any way the brake pedal could be electronically overridden enough to rule out anything other than the drivers stomping the wrong pedal, which then possibly explains the unintended acceleration.

      I've managed to avoid spending much time behind the wheel of a Toyota. How does the relative position of their gas and brake pedals compare to other makes?

      People have noted that the smart fortwo has a brake pedal with a slightly odd position and motion, but it sure would make it tough to confuse the pedals. Just sayin'.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree with your premise. At the outset of all this palaver, it was stated that on occasion the floor mat held the accelerator pedal in a stuck wide open position. Assuming that to be true, then the likelihood is that the black box would not register brake application (even if it were electronically capable), only acceleration application. The break down in the Toyota argument/premise is that the driver was repeatedly applying the accelerator. If the accelerator is being held wide open by the floor mat, the Toyotans ignore that the fact that the accelerator is stuck wide open and assume there is repeated application. It is a sorry way to attempt to avoid reality. thanks
      • 4 Years Ago
      "in instances where they reported having their foot on the brake pedal, there is very clear evidence that this is pedal misapplication."

      wth is that supposed to mean?
      • 4 Years Ago
      @thefourthheat
      Keep eating those Toy-Ho-Ta crackers and you're going to come down with a real belly ache. Toyota has lied, deceived and cheated the public more than any corporation ever, and still they have a following of the delusional. What Toyota have done is nothing of criminal in some cases an just plain unscrupulous in the rest of them.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I bet Toyota HQ in Japan is regretting the day they let the Americans have more control over the company.
      • 4 Years Ago
      it goes to show that they still refuse to take resposibility for their stupidity! its about mass producing as many cars as you can and get them to the streets as son as possible and to hell with the fact they put the cars together so fast there may be reliability issues! if they keep that attitude up, they will certainly have to stop selling their crap here cause no one wants a car from a company that blames everyone else for what is actually THEIR problem! its no wonder why ford has reliabiliy that cant be beat by toyota! its because toyota does not care about reliability anymore...good luck on trying to keep your crap here in this country, cause your going to need it when people stop buying toyota/lexus, leaving you to scratch you head and wonder "what the hell happened!"
      • 4 Years Ago
      And just like that, Toyota is the topic of the week again...
        • 4 Years Ago
        LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!
        • 4 Years Ago
        How about we just leave the whole unintended acceleration story about Toyota alone until you can get a spokesperson from Toyota, NHTSA, and the Dept. of Transportation (and anyone else I forgot) in the same room agreeing on the same conclusion. At this point, everything seems to be rumors or half-truths. Doesn't matter what news organization said what, unless it comes from the horse's mouth, please don't report it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is just getting stupid. At this point Toyota should just change their logo from that T/dude wearing a cowboy hat thing to Picard doing the facepalm. What on earth made them think it was a good idea to suggest anything before the official report is out? They should stay as tight lipped as possible, I could easily see a PR move like this going really wrong.
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