The federal government has just finished investigating a small sample of accidents and concluded that all were caused by driver error. While Toyota is not off the hook completely, it does vindicate the car maker to some degree. This situation now looks very similar to the claims of sudden acceleration surrounding Audi in the late 80s. The link to the WSJ article is here. The exact findings are not clear from the current news accounts. In other words, were all of the accidents sampled the result of driver error or just a few. All of this does point to the mob behavior and rush to judge that often accompanies situations of this type. It now appears that more than a few of the drivers who were “absolutely certain” they were depressing the brake were actually hitting the gas. There was already some question about the highway incident where a trooper apparently had to pull in front of a Prius to get it slowed down.
So this brings us back to Toyota again. They still failed miserably in managing this situation with the media and government. More than a few people are also still convinced that quality has slipped at Toyota as they have grown rapidly. I suspect that the sales impacts of this situation will begin to reduce. There will likely be some longer term residual though where individuals might more seriously consider other cars where before they might have only considered the Toyota. Only time will tell on this.