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Runaway Toyota Cars More a Case of Driver Error

2010 Toyota Prius
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2010 Toyota Prius

Were you surprised to hear the initial investigation into reports of Toyota cars and trucks suddenly accelerating were likely more a case of driver error?

You shouldn't have been.

The results echo what most in the auto industry, even those who are extremely critical of Toyota, have said for some time.

Unintended acceleration usually turns out to be a case where the driver accidentally hits the gas pedal instead of the brakes.

So what does all this mean for on-going investigations and lawsuits revolving around claims Toyota vehicles had a defect? Actually, it doesn't change a whole lot. These findings will clear up a number of the most recent claims about runaway Toyota cars. But it doesn't rule out the possibility the gas pedal was "sticking" or was trapped in an open position by floor mats.

And yes, there is still the possibility investigators could find an electronic defect.

But, these results should go a long way toward convincing the public there was not an epidemic of Toyota models suddenly accelerating. That's what should happen. In reality, it will take Toyota a lot longer to get out of the penalty box.

For better or worse, many car buyers have written off Toyota. Some think Toyota models can suddenly speed up. Some aren't sure, but are wary of how Toyota dragged its feet with recalls. And some just have uneasiness about buying a Toyota.

It will take a lot longer and more people clearing Toyota before the Japanese automaker can get back to where it once was.

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