Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

New Toyota Investigations Should Calm Hysteria, But May Not Find Cause

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With Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announcing two broad investigations into unintended acceleration in Toyotas and whether electronics play a role in all makes and models having potential problems with vehicles suddenly speeding up, the hysteria surrounding this issue should lessen.

Covering this story for the last six months I've seen people jumping to conclusions without considering other factors.

Some of it fueled by a backlash against the success Toyota has enjoyed the last 40 years n the U.S.

Some of it has been fueled by a conspiracy theory the Feds are trying to pick on Toyota to help the GM and Chrysler do better because we own a stake in those companies.

And some of it has been fueled by the media reporting half-baked stories about the safety of Toyota vehicles.

Whatever the reason, there's been little factual reporting, and more jumping to conclusions.

With NHTSA now planning to spend $6 Million dollars and bring in experts in electronics, we should finally get some answers. It will take months, and when it's over we may not know a whole lot more. But it we will have facts and likely some major changes to our cars.

I expect we will eventually see all cars required to have brake over-ride systems. But NHTSA may go even further. I wouldn't be surprised if automakers are forced to include "engine kill" switches in all cars. None of these requirements would go into effect right away, but rather they'll likely be put in new models starting 3 or 4 years from now.

Whatever the outcome, it will be good to finally have the facts and findings from a truly independent third party.

Maybe that will end the hysteria about unintended acceleration.


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