Toyota electronics not at fault for unintended acceleration

A government report clears Toyota vehicles' electronics of fault in cases of unintended acceleration.

Toyota Prius
The Toyota Prius was one vehicle in which cases of unintended acceleration were reported. CNET

A study by the Department of Transportation (DOT) concluded that electronic throttle systems were not at fault in reported cases of unintended acceleration by Toyota vehicles. The DOT used engineers from NASA to examine systems and software in nine Toyota vehicles where the owners of which experienced unintended acceleration.

Toyota's own investigations assigned blame to loose floormats and poorly manufactured gas pedal mechanisms, and issued recalls to fix these issues. Toyota also implemented systems in its vehicles that cut off acceleration when the brake is applied.

Congress asked the government to look into the reported incidents, and the DOT released its final report today. Investigators examined lines of code and even blasted the cars with electro-magnetic radiation to cause a failure. The report exonerated the electronics that govern the acceleration systems.

Reports of unintended acceleration reached the public after a fatal crash involving a Lexus ES 350. The DOT saw an increase in complaints about unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles and began the study.

Toyota's study found that it had identified the problems correctly, and that there were no problems with the electronics. Even so, Toyota's reputation, and sales, took a hit in an already tough economic climate.

(Source: Associate Press)

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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