After a 10-month study, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and NASA found nothing wrong with Toyota’s electronic throttle in connection with the cases of unintended acceleration. They did find issues with the previously discovered — and repaired — mechanical problems: the accelerator and the floormats, the New York Times reported this afternoon.
Those problems led to the recall of 12 million Toyotas, and those recalls led to a slump in new-car sales for the automaker, which continues to lag the industry as it rebounds from two of its worst years ever.
“[Transportation Secretary Ray] LaHood said NASA engineers ‘rigorously examined’ nine Toyotas driven by consumers who complained of unintended acceleration. NASA reviewed 280,000 lines of software code to look for flaws that could cause the acceleration. Investigators tested mechanical components in Toyotas that could lead to the problem and bombarded vehicles with electro-magnetic radiation to see whether it could make the electronics cause the cars to speed up.”
Despite finding no electronic problems, LaHood and NHTSA are still considering adding new safety features to all cars, including:
- A brake override system, likely in the same vein as the system Toyota has now added to all its new cars
- Standardizing keyless ignition systems
- Requiring event data recorders, much like the “black boxes” found on jetliners
Electronic Flaws Did Not Cause Toyota Problems, U.S. Says (New York Times)