A government study has partially cleared Toyota of fault in cases of sudden acceleration, instead placing blame on drivers and possibly floor mats.
Toyota has admitted that floor mats in some of its models could come loose and trap accelerators, and issued a recall and fixes to address the issue. However, the automaker has repeatedly rejected claims by attorneys that vehicle electronics were possibly at fault in the crashes.
The ten-month study, conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in conjunction with NASA, found that the floor mats did cause one of the accidents. However, the most common cause of crashes were "pedal misapplication," or a driver hitting the accelerator when they thought they were hitting the brake.
According to the Washington Post, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was at times "defiant" in his news conference announcing the findings, as the issue of electronic safety in vehicles has become a major talking point on Capitol Hill.
"The jury is back, the verdict is in," he reportedly said. "There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas. Period."
Drivers who were wary of purchasing a Toyota in the past may want to consider in light of this news, as it is a great time to apply for a car loan.