Maybe you missed it but the Department of Transportation has released its findings on the Toyota unintended acceleration incident. Car and Driver in its June edition recants the controversy. You recall (no pun intended) that Toyotas were accused of defaults that caused unintended acceleration. The well publicized case was a Lexus ES350 fitted with mats for an RX that crashed in California resulting in four deaths. All of a sudden unintended acceleration cases increased from being almost nonexistent to over 7000. Toyota recalled millions of cars, go pilloried in the press, its chairman was humiliated before congress, and it lost sales and millions of dollars. In addition to the mats, other culprits emerged. It was the electronic throttle control, it was the brakes that induced the wild acceleration, or it was some other defect in the computers or electronics. Well DOT purchased six Camrys from owners who had filed unintended acceleration complaints and turned the cars over to NASA scientists. The rocket scientists did every test they could devise to induce unintended acceleration and could not do it. As a result, DOT concluded that the cause of the problem was "pedal misapplication." Translation: driver error. So where were the stories in the media - in the press and on TV? I don't recall (pun) seeing a single one. Toyota is owed an apology and should be compensated by the US government for all their costs. Don't hold your breath.
Harold A. Black is professor emeritus in the Department of Finance, University of Tennessee, Knoxville having retired after 24 years of service. He has served on the faculties of American University, Howard University, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and the University of Florida. His government service includes the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and as a Board Member of the National Credit Union Administration. He also has served on the boards of directors Home Savings of America and its parent company, H. F. Ahmanson & Co., Irwindale, California prior to its merger with Washington Mutual Savings Bank, on the board of New Century Financial Corporation, Irvine, California, then the nation’s largest real estate investment trust and as director and later chairman of the Nashville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He writes an occasional article for the Knoxville News-Sentinel at http://www.knoxnews.com/staff/dr-harold-black/. His web page is haroldablackphd.com