Toyota Recall Fails to Address 'Root Cause' of Many Sudden Acceleration Cases, Safety Expert Says

On a phone conference call with reporters Wednesday, Toyota officials continued to reject any electronic problem.

"We can come up with no indication whatsoever that there is a throttle or electronic control system malfunction," said Toyota spokesman Irv Miller.

Even so, in a major concession, Toyota did announce an important change in their cars' electronic acceleration system Wednesday.

Toyota to Introduce "Smart Brake" Feature

As ABC News had previously reported, under the current Toyota design, the brake is not powerful enough to stop a runaway car at full throttle.

As part of the recall, however, Toyota announced that it will install a brake override system in some of its vehicle models. The "brake to idle" feature, which is standard on most German vehicles, allows the driver to override a car's acceleration by hitting the brake. Kane applauded the decision, saying regardless of the cause of sudden acceleration cases, the measure will save lives.

"That type of fix will bring control to the driver very quickly, and will likely prevent crashes," said Kane.

In a statement, the NHTSA applauded the addition of the brake override, saying that it was "particularly pleased that Toyota is taking this additional step.

But Toyota owners won't be able to get the newer or shorter gas pedals or the brake over-ride until next year.

The brake override system will be made standard equipment throughout the Toyota and Lexus product lines beginning with cars manufactured in January 2010.

For owners of existing vehicles, Toyota will begin sending recall notices before the end of the year, starting with Camrys, Avalons and ES350s.Dealers will be able to make the modifications on some models beginning in January.

A fatal accident near San Diego this August that took the lives of California Highway patrol officer Mark Saylor, his wife, daughter and brother-in-law drew attention to the problem of 'runaway Toyotas.'

The Lexus they were driving, borrowed from a dealer, raced out of control at 100 miles an hour before hitting another vehicle, crashing into an embankment and bursting into flames.

Right before the crash, Saylor's brother-in-law called 911 from the backseat of the vehicle and said urgently, "Our accelerator is stuck. We're in trouble…There's no brakes."

Toyota said the problem was the wrong-sized, all-weather rubber floor mat in the car which was caught and held down the gas pedal.

In Tokyo, the president of Toyota, Akio Toyoda, formally apologized, saying, "Four precious lives have been lost. I offer my deepest condolences."

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