Feds Say Book Still Open on Causes of 'Runaway' Toyotas

Meanwhile, Toyota says its own investigation has found that drivers are themselves to blame in "virtually all" cases of sudden acceleration. In an interview Wednesday with Bloomberg, Toyota spokesperson Mike Michels said the company's conclusions were based on a review of about 2,000 sudden acceleration cases, which included analyses of black box data when a crash occurred.

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However, Toyota itself has questioned the reliability of its vehicle data recorders, which it calls a "prototype." The manual for Toyota's SRS Airbag Event Data Recorder states, "The accuracy of the memory of Toyota's Event Data Recorder ("EDR") is still being validated, and the readout tool for the EDR is still in the prototype stage. Toyota cannot verify the complete reliability of such information, unless such data can be independently corroborated, e.g. through physical evidence, etc."

Despite the previous language on its EDR, Toyota spokesperson Brian Lyons told the Blotter that the company considers the data "completely reliable." According to Lyons, the past statements meant that the EDR data should not be used to conduct complete "accident reconstructions," which he said are more complex than simply reading the positions of the brake and gas pedals at the time of a crash.

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