"We hope this important study will help put to rest unsupported speculation about Toyota's ETCS-i [Toyota Electronic Throttle Control System-Intelligent], which is well-designed and well-tested to ensure that a real world, un-commanded acceleration of the vehicle cannot occur," the statement said.
However, the NASA report said that "because proof that the [electronic system] caused the reported [unintended accelerations] was not found, does not mean it could not occur."
"It's not over because tomorrow you could find what the cause is," Clarence Ditlow, executive director for the Center for Auto Safety told ABC News at the time. "There's no doubt in my mind there are electronic problems, but we're talking about a very rare event."
Despite the DOT's announcement clearing Toyota of electronic sudden acceleration problems, the car manufacturer is still in the crosshairs of a lawsuit filed by dozens of drivers who claim that cases of sudden unintended acceleration have caused them personal injury or financial harm due to the reduced resale values of their vehicles. Multiple lawsuits have been combined into one multi-district federal class action suit h in the U.S. District Court in Southern California.
According to court filings submitted as part of the case, Toyota company documents reveal that its own drivers were behind the wheel in two separate cases when the vehicles experienced sudden acceleration, as their owners had alleged had happened to them. One of the documents states, according to the filing, that a Toyota vehicle unexpectedly accelerated from 71 mph to 95 mph with "no pedal contact" while being evaluated by a Toyota service manager.
Toyota bought both vehicles back from their owners -- who had brought them in complaining about sudden acceleration -- and both owners say Toyota urged them not to discuss the incidents.