The problem some Toyota drivers have had with unintended acceleration of their vehicles -- a problem we first wrote about last April -- is not caused by any electronic flaws in the cars, a lengthy federal study has determined.
The lengthy federal study could not determine, however, just what was causing the problem.
Federal investigators, including NASA engineers, spent ten months studying the electronic systems of Toyota cars and could find nothing that might have cause the accelerations.
"We enlisted the best and the brightest engineers to study Toyota's electronic systems, and the verdict is in. There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas," Ray LaHood, the Secretary of Transportation, said in a statement accompanying the study's release.
Still suspected are floormats that might be pushed down onto the gas pedal, and gas pedals that stick.
Toyota recalled 11 million vehicles when the acceleration problems began to get publicity.
"Toyota welcomes the findings of NASA and NHTSA regarding our Electronic Throttle Control System with intelligence (ETCS-i) and we appreciate the thoroughness of their review," Steve St. Angelo, Toyota's Chief Quality Officer for North America, said in a written statement. "We believe this rigorous scientific analysis by some of America's foremost engineers should further reinforce confidence in the safety of Toyota and Lexus vehicles. We hope this important study will help put to rest unsupported speculation about Toyota's ETCS-i, which is well-designed and well-tested to ensure that a real world, un-commanded acceleration of the vehicle cannot occur."
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.