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U.S. Closes The Book On Toyota's Acceleration Cases

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And now we can tell you what could be the final chapter in a long saga for the Japanese automaker Toyota. Yet another report shows electronics in Toyota and Lexus cars were not to blame for reports of unintended acceleration.

NPR's Sonari Glinton has more.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: In 2009 and 2010, Toyota recalled more than eight million vehicles world-wide. That's after reports of sudden unintended acceleration. Those reports and subsequent news coverage caused one of biggest public relations nightmares in the company's history. Since 2009, Toyota has lost its position as the world's largest automaker. It faced lawsuits and its executives were called to testify before Congress.

The Department of Transportation and NASA investigated. They looked at what's called the electronic throttle control. That's what sends information from the accelerator to the engine. Neither could find evidence that the electronics were to blame for the problem. What was likely to blame were sticky gas pedals or floor mats that might jam. And finally, the possibility that drivers could have been mistaking the gas pedal for the brakes.

An independent panel found this week that no fatalities occurred because of the car's electronics. The panel did recommend that regulators require data recorders be put into vehicles. They also recommended that the government look into the placement and design of foot pedals. That's to find ways to make it harder to mistake the gas for the brake, not just for Toyota, but for all car companies.

Sonari Glinton, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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