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Feds Clear Toyota in Sudden Acceleration Investigation

NASA/NHTSA study finds no mysterious electronic gremlins.

by on Feb.08, 2011

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda with the Prius V hybrid.

A 10-month government investigation has cleared Toyota of charges that its products might be unexpectedly surging out of control due to mysterious electronic gremlins.

The study, conducted for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in cooperation with the space agency, NASA, explored possible causes of what has come to be known as either unintended acceleration or sudden acceleration in Toyota cars.  But researchers found no fault with the automaker’s electronic throttle control systems, the Department of Transportation reported Tuesday.

“We enlisted the best and brightest engineers to study Toyota’s electronics systems, and the verdict is in. There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas,” declared U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

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That’s a major reversal of the position the administration’s top transportation official took barely a year ago, when Toyota announced the second in a series of recalls addressing mechanical problems that have been linked to runaway vehicles.  At one point, LaHood told reporters he thought motorists should park Toyota products until they were repaired.