Human error may be to blame in Toyota acceleration accidents

Marketplace Staff Aug 11, 2010
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Human error may be to blame in Toyota acceleration accidents

Marketplace Staff Aug 11, 2010
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Bill Radke: A government analysis of crashed Toyota cars has brought a little good news for the automaker. Investigators say they have no evidence that Toyota’s electronics are the culprit for those bouts of sudden acceleration. So does that mean drivers are to blame? Here’s Marketplace’s Jeff Horwich.


Jeff Horwich: Toyota has admitted two major problems with its late-model cars: sticky gas pedals and gas pedals that get trapped under the floor mat. But a potentially more damaging theory suggests the cars’ internal computers may be malfunctioning and speeding people into accidents.

Using special diagnostic equipment supplied by Toyota, transportation officials examined the “black box” data from 58 crashed cars. In their report to Congress, they say there’s no evidence of any electric problem — in fact, human error may be largely to blame. Hans Greimel is Asia Editor for Automotive News:

Hans Greimel: Toyota’s been saying all along that they’ve double-checked and triple-checked and quadruple checked these electronics and that they’re sound. The critics, however, would say that just because you have no evidence that there’s a problem doesn’t mean that there’s not a problem.

Greimel says Toyota’s not out of the woods. The government’s investigation continues, and hundreds of pending lawsuits will generate their own studies of what went wrong.

I’m Jeff Horwich for Marketplace.

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