NASA engineers found no electronic flaws in Toyota that would cause unintended acceleration, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported Tuesday.
The results were announced in a report by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which commissioned a 10-month review of Toyota vehicles after thousands of owners complained of unintended acceleration. NHTSA has said that as many as 39 deaths might be linked to the unintended acceleration.
After waiting at least four months before notifying safety officials about vehicles with a “sticky pedal” defect, Toyota recalled nearly 8 million vehicles, blaming problems on two relatively simple mechanical defects: sticking accelerator pedals and floor mats that entrap the accelerator. Transportation officials had backed up Toyota’s assertions last August, saying in a preliminary briefing that they had not been able to find any electronics flaws and believed safety problems had been fixed.
“Today, we can say clearly and affirmatively that NHTSA, America’s traffic safety organization, was right all along,” according to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s prepared remarks. “Our conclusion – that Toyota’s problems were mechanical, not electrical – comes after one of the most exhaustive, thorough, and intensive research efforts ever undertaken.”