The NHTSA, working in conjunction with NASA, had intended to publish its report on the causes of Toyota’s unintended acceleration this fall. We’re now just 17 days away from winter, but the final report from the NHTSA is nowhere near complete. Left Lane News quotes the NHTSA’s David Strickland as saying, “We want to get it right. I’m not going to get hung up on a date if we need to tie up loose ends.” Sounds to me like they may be looking for evidence that doesn’t exist; when the conclusions don’t match your desired results, the most ethical alternative is to keep on digging until you find evidence to support your conclusion.
The National Research Council, part of the National Academy of Sciences, is also working on a report, based on their own research and testing. This study will run through the third quarter of 2011, so we’re still a year away from the NRC findings. To date, no testing has revealed the presence of electric gremlins or a “ghost in the machine”, lending credence to Toyota’s claim that unintended acceleration was the result of pedal entrapment, a sticking pedal or driver error. Claims of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles have declined approximately 80% from their peak in April of 2010, just as the claims of unintended acceleration in Audi 5000s declined when the media coverage died down. Coincidence? I don’t think so.