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February 08, 2011

Obama Admin Admits There Was No Electronic Problem Causing Toyota Sudden Acceleration

Months ago I wrote that the Obama Administration was sitting on an NHTSA report that would conclusively exonerate Toyota from charges that the electronics in its cars was causing them to suddenly accelerate. The Administration had almost no other choice but to delay in the face of weeks of statements by Administration officials and Democratic congressmen excoriating the automaker. (Overlawyered also covered the suppression charge and the NYTimes' participation in the attack on Toyota.)

Lo-and-behold, now that the election is over and Democrats can get no more camera time on the issue the report finally comes out.

A federal investigation into the recall of Toyota vehicles found no electronic flaws to explain sudden, unintentional acceleration, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The latest report came after a 10-month investigation into whether faulty electronics were responsible for the unintentional high-speed acceleration problem. But the investigation found no evidence for any causes for the unintended acceleration beyond sticking accelerator pedals and floor mat entrapment, though officials said they would consider steps to prevent drivers from pushing wrong the pedal.

At one point, Transportation Secretary LaHood even announced that Toyota owners should return their cars to the dealers and demand refunds. Congressional Democrats were dragging Toyota executives to inquisitorial committee hearings all for an imaginary problem. Oops.

Toyota issued several recalls to secure floor mats and adjust sticky brake pedals but the claim that some electronic goblin was causing their cars to accelerate out of control formed the heart of the inquisition. Ultimately, Toyota was forced to pay more than $48 million in fees because of the recalls and Toyota was the only full-line automaker in 2010 to post lower sales.

Remember, this was completely predictable. It happened before. A few incidents get blown completely out of proportion by giddy lawmakers and credulous media and then every person in a fender-bender uses the "it just got away from me" excuse.

File this one under "politicized science."

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 06:22 PM

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