As safety investigators continue their probe into the unexplained and unintended acceleration of Toyotas, the automaker says it has reviewed nearly 2,000 cases and drivers appear to be the problem, not Toyota vehicles.
Federal officials have attributed a number of wrongful deaths to the runaway vehicles, so the outcome of this investigation has a direct bearing on those lawsuits. Toyota, not surprisingly, says it has found no problems with the electronics that control the acceleration, initially blamed for the runaway vehicles.
Adding insult to injury, Consumer Affairs reports that Toyota says it found some instances where drivers simply made a mistake, mixing-up the accelerator pedal for the brakes.
Those sentiments were echoed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) which has found, by looking at the black box recorders, that no pressure was applied to brakes and the throttles were opened in a few cases of runaway cars.
Toyota has insisted since the early reports, that driver error or misplaced and heavy floor mats affected the cars’ acceleration, the basis of the Toyota automobiles recall.
Due to runaway Toyotas, a barrage of federal lawsuits has been certified as class actions around the country. Individual wrongful death lawsuits have been filed too, including one by the family of Mark Saylor. The California Highway Patrol officer and his family perished when their runaway Lexus plunged off a hill in San Diego in August 2009 after Saylor, an experienced driver, couldn’t bring the racing vehicle under control. Toyota claims that oversized floor mats trapped the gas pedal of the Lexus.