Data Show Driver Error In Toyota Acceleration Cases

Toyota says it has found dozens of sudden acceleration cases that were caused when drivers mistakenly put their foot on the gas pedal, instead of the brakes. Toyota says the evidence lies in the cars' onboard data recorders.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, host:

And now for a follow-up on safety issues at Toyota. The carmaker said yesterday that it has found dozens of sudden acceleration cases were caused when drivers mistakenly put their foot on the gas pedal instead of the brakes. NPR's Frank Langfitt reports.

FRANK LANGFITT: Toyota says the evidence lies in the car's onboard data recorders. Here's company spokesman Mike Michaels.

Mr. MIKE MICHAELS (Spokesman, Toyota): In crashes in which the driver reported that their foot was on the brake pedal, the event data recorders are overwhelmingly indicating that there was inadvertent pedal misapplication. In other words, stepping on the wrong pedal.

LANGFITT: The findings could undermine some crash victims' claims that sudden acceleration is caused by an electronic glitch. But Sean Kane of Auto Safety Advocate, who works with plaintiffs' attorneys, said even Toyota has acknowledged the data recorders aren't foolproof.

Mr. SEAN KANE (Auto Safety Advocate): They want investors to believe this is over and Toyota's problem is behind them. I think we're far from that.

LANGFITT: Even if some drivers have been pressing the wrong pedal, it doesn't mean Toyotas didn't have problems. The company has already recalled millions of vehicles because of faulty floor mats and sticky gas pedals that posed a risk of sudden acceleration.

Frank Langfitt, NPR News.

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