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