Toyota Acceleration Panic Officially Over

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Enough said.

A year ago, Toyotas were running amok, accelerating down America's highways causing fear, carnage, and salivating plaintiffs attorneys. The alleged culprit? Gremlins in Toyata's Toyota's electronics. Not so, says the U.S. Department of Transportation today. The New York Times reports:

A federal investigation into the recall of Toyota vehicles found no electronic flaws to explain sudden, unintentional acceleration, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The latest report came after a 10-month investigation into whether faulty electronics were responsible for the unintentional high-speed acceleration problem. But the investigation found no evidence for any causes for the unintended acceleration beyond sticking accelerator pedals and floor mat entrapment, though officials said they would consider steps to prevent drivers from pushing wrong the pedal.

"We enlisted the best and the brightest engineers to study Toyota's electronic systems, and the verdict is in. There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas," the transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, said in a statement.

I will say it: I told you so. See my March 16, 2010 column, The Wrong Kind of Toyotathon.

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  1. Toyata actually sounds like a good name for a gremlin. And so help me Ronald, if you fix that type-o causing everyone else to wonder what the hell I’m talking about…

    1. The Gremlin was made by AMC.

      1. Yeah, and it was an ugly POS car. Almost as hideous as its cousin, the Pacer. Bleccch.

        1. How dare you slur the Pacer!? How dare you sir!?

  2. The Detroit Union thugs will not be happy about this.

    1. But Toyota is a foreign multi-national corporation, so must be evil!!!!

      1. The report excludes technical failure….but any mention of supernatural causes is strangely absent…ooowweeeeeeooooooo

  3. officials said they would consider steps to prevent drivers from pushing wrong the pedal

    You can prevent stupid from driving?

    1. Yes you can. Take away Dunphy’s driver’s license.

      Of course he’d drive anyway and his circle-jerk cop buddies would look the other way…

  4. Toyota and it’s shareholders should have 98.9% of LaHoods future income for the bullshit he pulled off.

  5. Glad I got my used Camry at a discount from someone who actually believed the media.

    1. [looking for Like button; embarrassed by this]

  6. Officially over, mythically continues.

  7. This seems like a good time to paste in something P.J. O’Rourke wrote 20 years ago.

    [T]he DOT had to commission a multi-million-dollar study to prove that there is no such thing as sudden acceleration even though he and everyone else at DOT knew sudden-acceleration incidents didn’t exist: SAIs would be reported to NHTSA. NHTSA would investigate them thoroughly. NHTSA would say they were caused by human error. And no one believed NHTSA.

    The public would say, “Who me? Make a mistake? Me, the voter?”

    In a democracy we regular citizens don’t make mistakes. We never get in a car and step on the wrong pedal and run people over. Somebody does these things to us. The Trilateral Commission or the Freemasons. Maybe it’s part of the Iran-contra conspiracy or a big foreign corporation’s fault. You can’t blame us.

    And indeed, the DOT couldn’t blame us. Even after completing its massive study of SAIs and showing that SAIs were all our own fault, the DOT couldn’t quite bring itself to blame us.

    Still, the study had to be done. Before the SAI study, blame evasion was getting out of hand. Newspapers were saying that sudden acceleration was caused by malfunctioning cruise-control mechanisms. The Center for Automotive Safety was claiming that radio waves made the computers in cars act up. Other ignorati pointed fingers at arcane goings-on within transmission housings and fuel-injection systems. Then, when “60 Minutes” did its piece on SAIs, Audis began jumping and leaping and cavorting in suburban driveways like killer whales at Sea World, and the sky turned legal-pad yellow with law suits.

    The people at DOT had to make their investigation of sudden acceleration not because they’re fools, but because we are.

  8. Didn’t O’Rourke also write that anyone who drag raced w/ an automatic transmission as a kid knows that no car’s engine can overpower its brakes?

  9. This has all happened before, and it will all happen again.

    1. My Toyota is a Cylon?

      1. No, Toyota is the predecessor to Cyberdine Systems. Braun is the predecessor to Graystone Industries. Try and get this stuff right, OK?

        1. Damn, and here I was hoping to get into a #6, if you know what I mean and I think that you do.

          1. I do, but she has more miles on her than you think.

            1. Afraid the suspension is about to give out?

              1. That model tends to bottom out a lot and isn’t very reliable.

                1. I’ll have to go w/ the Korean model then.

  10. Will this stop the lawsuits? No. And Toyota will have to pay and pay and pay.

    I’ll bet 90% of these incidents occur when people over 75 are behind the wheel.

  11. See my March 16, 2010 column, The Wrong Kind of Toyotathon.

    Goddam those thread comments are a Spam-a-thon.

    1. Is there anything sillier than archiving blog commentary?

      1. Are you serious?

      2. We need a record of MNG’s and Joe’s more idiotic statements.

          1. Good question.

  12. One wonders if this didn’t have something to do with the governments takeover of GM.

    Earlier this year, they trumpeted that GM was again the world’s #1 in car sales. Couldn’t have happened without the assist of the DOT.

  13. The latest report came after a 10-month investigation into whether faulty electronics were responsible for the unintentional high-speed acceleration problem. But the investigation found no evidence for any causes for the unintended acceleration beyond sticking accelerator pedals and floor mat entrapment, though officials said they would consider steps to prevent drivers from pushing wrong the pedal.

    So motorists, even when provided with functioning automobiles, manage to fuck up and crash into things?

    I can think of only one way to solve this problem: bumper cars.

    1. A stupidity detector coupled to an electric shock device…every time someone behind the wheel does something stupid, he/she gets 50,000vs up the wazoo. These morons will learn very quickly after two or three of those. Either that or become hopelessly addicted to electrical shocks

      1. Perhaps you’ll be more interested in High Speed Rail NOW!!

        1. You’ll never be as fast as me!

  14. …officials said they would consider steps to prevent drivers from pushing wrong the pedal.

    Is Yoda working for the D.o.T. now?

  15. A federal investigation into the recall of Toyota vehicles found no electronic flaws to explain sudden, unintentional acceleration, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

    Sure.

    But if the problem is in software, we’re still back at square one. That is, you can have a perfectly functioning computer, but it’s useless if it’s been infected with a virus that shuts it down on bootup.

    It seems to me that there are likely three different problems going on with the reported sudden acceleration issues with Toyota.

    1) Open fraud, of the sort we saw down in San Diego.
    2) A failure to RTFM, in the case of Steve Wozniak.
    3) A software bug that is extremely sporadic and thus likely to be very hard to track down and fix.

    1. Today’s announcement is not very comforting to Koua Fong Lee, previously detailed in Reason, who appears to have been falsely accused of felony unsafe driving. (His 1996 Toyota Camry is not a Prius, no, but one wonders if it, too, doesn’t have similar software issues.)

      1. no, today’s announcement is not very comforting to the victims of mr. lee, as it turns out there was nothing wrong with the car, so perhaps he should not have been released during the Toyota hysteria

        1. Whoa. Releasing a guilty man…
          You just blew my mind.

    2. “A software bug that is extremely sporadic and thus likely to be very hard to track down and fix.”

      I think that is possible (no software system is perfect), but the number of incidents from this would be trivial compared to incidents caused by mechanical faults, and those are trivial compared to the number of incidents caused by user error

      1. 3) A software bug that is extremely sporadic and thus likely to be very hard to track down and fix.

        I guarantee you the Toyota software isn’t as complex as millions of other systems out there with sporadic bugs, that get tracked down and fixed.

        1. no complex software system is free of bugs, you just try to get them down to an acceptable level

          1. One bug is one bug too many!

    3. The full report claims they did look through the software, but only examined two possible failure modes.

    4. You left out number 4:

      People mashing the wrong freakin’ pedal.

      1. No, that’s considered part of Number 3.

  16. What’s under LaHood?

      1. Not with those overhead cams.

        1. Four on the floor.

  17. officials said they would consider steps to prevent drivers from pushing wrong the pedal.

    Left foot braking.

    1. I’ve always driven that way. It’s more efficient and faster in an emergency. I don’t know why more people don’t do it. Do they type with one finger?

      1. y….e…..s….

      2. Because driver’s ed teaches you to NOT do this when you’re 16 to avoid undesired pedal overlap (riding the brakes). And most people think what was covered in driver’s ed is the be-all end-all of driving instruction.

    2. Force everyone to drive a stick. That will help solve the texting while driving problem too.

      1. No it won’t.

      2. Can’t everyone shift with their knees?

  18. officials said they would consider steps to prevent drivers from pushing wrong the pedal.

    Frequent beatings?

    1. High-speed rail?

  19. Wasn’t this already confirmed by some private, independent group at least a year ago?

  20. I said it at the beginning of this hoax: It’s Audi all over again.

    And it was done on purpose to help out a certain federal auto company.

    1. Agree 100% with the first statement. You mash the functioning brakes (completely separate system, gosh those engineers are goddam clever) and the car fucking stops no matter what the throttle is doing.

      On your second – Never look to a conspiracy when plain ol’ stupid is a sufficient explanation.

      1. On the other hand, I was able to buy a new Prius real cheap.

        Now I have to decide what car I’ll buy 10 years from now and plan a Sudden Acceleration problem with said model 8 years from now.

        1. No, no, no.
          You decide ten years from now what make and model car you want to buy cheap and then the sudden acceleration hysteria is ginned up.

      2. I think it started as stupid, but the federal involvement in GM had to help fan the flames of bullshit.

  21. I want to know why we have so many NASA engineers with nothing better to do.

    1. Well besides retiring the shuttle, and cancelling the next program (Which agree was over cost). We’re just waiting for the layoff notice.

      Mine is at the end of the Shuttle so August timeframe.

  22. Left foot braking.

    How’m I supposed to use both feet for driving AND get a footrub at the same time? Huh?

    And left foot braking no workee for the minority that drive stick-shift.

    1. People don’t drive stick shift because of the sudden acceleration problems when they release the clutch in first gear.

    2. What breed of monkey do you use for the foot rubs?

      1. He always uses bonobos…guarantees a happy ending.

  23. And left foot braking no workee for the minority that drive stick-shift.

  24. Does this mean Toyota will get their forty-seven million dollars in fines back?
    Or is that just the cost of doing business in Obama’s America?

    1. no, they got fined for not reporting quickly enough on a problem which did not exist

  25. Fuck you, squirrels.

    Left foot braking is eminently doable with a manual.

    But you’ve got me on the footrub issue.

  26. It’s fucking driver error, dammit!!

    1. “pedal misapplication”

  27. “I pressed down on the brake pedal as hard as I could and the car only went faster! It’s defective!”

  28. Regardless, Floridian octogenarians will continue to back their Caddys into canals and insist that they were applying the brakes the whole time.

    1. IIRC, during the Audi hysteria it was revealed that Buicks had the highest rate of unintended acceleration incidents.

  29. The problem is automatic transmissions and their complete lack of feedback to the user. Although I do not support a government ban on these fiendish devices, I think we should foster a culture where people that use automatic transmissions are ostracized and openly mocked.

    These uncultured swine have been shoving slushboxes into decent automobiles for years, and by doing so have encouraged the car’s devolution from a turbocharged fullbred operated by an attentive and loving driver to the designed-by-committee offensively-inoffensive crossover that is so common among those who text while driving. Even worse, the automatic transmission allows geriatrics to operate an automobile long after they are able to react in a timely manner to traffic, signals, and even turns in the road itself.

    The automatic transmission is the worst thing that has ever happened to the automotive world. It has, to put it short, enabled and encouraged an entire class of people to drive a 3000 lb vehicle at highway speeds despite the fact that they are completely incompetent to do so. No wonder auto fatalities are so damn high.

    1. Did you brush your teeth with elitist paste this morning? If it was nearly as bad as you say, there would be way more fatalities.

      1. Tulpa, you strike me as someone that has never operated a clutch.

        Just going to cherry-pick this data point because I can’t find historical accident data:

        In 2008, the number of overall traffic fatalities reached a record low since 1961, and that number continued to decrease in the first few months of 2009.

        Proof! Or correlation. Or something! The automatic transmission was only popularized during the mid-20th century and we’ve had an increase in the rate of accidents and fatalities that has only recently been decreasing (mostly due to the fact that our cars are now sound-deadened overweight sponges that do everything possible to make you feel like you aren’t driving).

        And I’ll drop this here

        Vehicles equipped with automatic transmissions are less complex to drive. Consequently, in some jurisdictions, drivers who have passed their driving test in a vehicle with an automatic transmission will not be licensed to drive a manual transmission vehicle.

    2. Come drive a stick in DC rush hour traffic for 20 years and then talk to me about manual vs slushbox.

    3. Wow. I didn’t know I was elite because I can drive a stick.

      So do you also change the TV channels by hand or use a remote? I’m sure you use old rotory phones instead of speed dails. Heaven forbid that technology makes things easier for people.

      Yes, geriatric driving can be a problem – agreed. Isn’t that the whole point of a driving test?

      Hell, alot of people should go back though test every few years. Problem is if you fail you can take it again in 30 days.

  30. Bullshit. The descriptions by the victims clearly described electric problems. End of story.

    Bailey… how often do you site government reports as evidence… only when it suits you?

    1. how often do you site government reports as evidence… only when it suits you?

      Yes.

  31. When government does it it’s plain old corruption or incompetence, but when a corporation does it, it’s a conspiracy theory… (to help GM)…

    If these are libertarians making these conspiracy theory claims, y’all need to look in the mirror.

  32. I thought it had to do with the accelerator getting stuck on the floor-mats. Wait, that was a differently safety issue. Toyota has been plagued with massive, global recalls for the last few years. Maybe this is less a government conspiracy and more a case of a car company letting quality control go to hell because their sales were doing good.

  33. Wasn’t the first “fix” a metal shim placed in the pedal assembly somewhere?

    Isn’t it possible there was an engineering defect with a very low incidence of the specific kind of failure, whereby the pedal failed in such a way to continue directing the engine to accelerate? Toyota admits that prior to the current generation, it was possible to apply both the accelerator and brake at the same time.

    “It wasn’t an electronics failure, so this was mass delusion and panic over nothing” seems like a hasty conclusion.

  34. Look, I could easily see the software getting put into a weird mode that causes it to misread sensor data as normal speeds and continue to accelerate; examining the logs would not find a problem.

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