As explained in the Safety Research & Strategies detailed report on Toyota’s speed control problem, past government investigations closed without reaching a conclusion because Toyota convinced the government to narrowly define the problem it was researching, thus excluding many incidents. If you saw the congressional hearings on the issue you saw congressmen, regulators, and company personnel hanging up on the definitions. Let’s make it simple. The problem should be defined as any instance in which the engine does something the driver didn’t tell it to do. If the throttle opens in response to anyinput other than the driver’s foot on the gas pedal, that’s the problem, whether due to floor mats, sticky pedals, glitchy computer programming, inadequate fail-safes, electromagnetic interference, or any other cause. Toyota and the government need to use a simple definition and simply figure out why Toyota’s cars are doing things their drivers never told them to do.
- Stuart Ollanik