A new report suggests that many unintended acceleration cases in Toyota hybrid cars were due to driver error?

A real danger or just a distraction?

Did the government assume too much?

β€œThe Department of Transportation has analyzed a sampling of dozens of black boxes in Toyota vehicles involved in accidents blamed on unintended acceleration, finding the throttles were open and the brakes were not engaged,” the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

Consequently, it seems – at least thus far – that driver error has been the root of at least much of the unintended acceleration scandal that has plagued Toyota for many months now. Ironically, the findings are similar to the government’s conclusions in 1989’s Audi 5000 study.

Rather than pushing down on the brakes, it seems drivers were accidentally flooring the accelerator instead.

Considering the government’s attack upon Toyota, coupled with its significant ownership role in the US auto industry, such a preliminary finding is a bit disturbing, especially since the government’s previous research into a very similar problem revealed that driver error, not automotive defects, was the greatest cause of so-called unintended acceleration.

Anyway, can’t say I’m surprised. Self-helping sound bites, rather than the truth, is an institutionalized Congressional specialty.

Nevertheless and more important, it seems Toyota hybrid cars were always pretty safe, and all the updates made since the recall scandal started have only made them safer.

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