According to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Department of Transportation has analyzed a number of Toyota & Lexus black boxes taken from vehicles involved in “sudden acceleration” accidents, and have discovered that drivers were accidentally pushing the acceleration pedal instead of the brake:
The results suggest that some drivers who said their Toyota and Lexus vehicles surged out of control were mistakenly flooring the accelerator when they intended to jam on the brakes. But the findings don’t exonerate Toyota from two known issues blamed for sudden acceleration in its vehicles: sticky accelerator pedals and floor mats that can trap accelerator pedals to the floor.
The data recorders analyzed by NHTSA were selected by the agency, not Toyota, based on complaints the drivers had filed with the government.
[...]NHTSA has been able to verify only one of those fatal crashes was caused by a problem with the vehicle, according to information the agency provided to the National Academy of Sciences. That accident last Aug. 28, which killed a California highway patrolman and three passengers in a Lexus, was traced to a floor mat that trapped the gas pedal in the depressed position.
The NHTSA spokeswman said the agency was continuing to investigate the Toyota accidents and wouldn’t be prepared to comment fully on the probe until a broader study is completed in conjunction with NASA, which is expected to take months.
While it’s hardly conclusive, it’s definitely a step in the right direction — be sure to read the full article for all the details.
[Source: The Wall Street Journal]