NHTSA study clears Toyota of automobile defects

February 10, 2011

Washington – Results from a 10-month study found no electronic flaws in Toyota vehicles capable of producing unintended acceleration incidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Feb. 8.

Findings from the study from NHTSA (.pdf file) and NASA engineers (.pdf file) identified no electronic cause of dangerous unintended acceleration incidents in Toyota vehicles or any new mechanical cause beyond sticking pedals and accelerator pedal entrapment. NHTSA officials plan to take the following new actions:

  • Propose rules, by the end of 2011, to require brake override systems, standardized operation of keyless ignition systems, and installation of event data recorders in all passenger vehicles
  • Begin broad research on the reliability and security of electronic control systems
  • Research the placement and design of accelerator and brake pedals and driver usage of pedals to determine whether improvements would reduce pedal misapplication

In 2009 and 2010, Toyota recalled nearly 8 million vehicles that had possible “pedal entrapment” or “sticky pedal” defects. Toyota paid the maximum civil penalties after NHTSA determined the company failed to report safety defects in a sufficiently timely manner.