Driver error may be behind Toyota's woes

Initial investigation shows drivers mistakenly floored gas pedals

Initial results from a U.S. Department of Transportation investigation show driver error may be to blame for many of the crashes that have tarnished Toyota’s reputation, reports the Wall Street Journal. The department randomly sampled “black boxes” from vehicles whose drivers claimed their vehicle had accelerated out of control before crashing. The data recorders revealed drivers had accidentally engaged their gas-pedals instead of their brakes. A government-sponsored investigation in 1989 found the same problem after a spate of Audi 5000 drivers claimed they crashed due to faulty breaks. Toyota issued a massive recall in November 2009 to replace floor mats that were interfering with accelerators. The company recalled millions more vehicles in January to replace gas-pedals that “stick” when released by the driver’s foot.

Wall Street Journal