Patt Morrison for August 3, 2010

Oh what a confused feeling: driver error vs. unintended acceleration in runaway Toyotas

Mercer 9375

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Toyota may have known about automatic acceleration for years and not said anything about it

As the number of Toyotas being pulled apart by investigators and trial attorneys increases, more theories are arising about what, exactly, caused the runaway Toyota phenomenon of the past several years. Last month, Patt reported on leaked documents from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration that showed federal auto experts could not recreate stuck accelerators in Toyotas, suggesting that driver error was the main cause for Toyotas careening out of control down the nation’s highways. Now, there are documents emerging from lawsuits filed against Toyota that show the company’s own engineers informed executives of sudden acceleration incidents at least six times dating back to 2003. Toyota technicians even reported that they themselves had experienced sudden acceleration. So who is ultimately to blame for Toyota’s problems, and will we ever have a definitive answer?


Sean Kane, founder & president of Safety Research & Strategies

Mike Allen, senior automotive editor at Popular Mechanics

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