A ray of light for Toyota in the US this week as the country's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded that driver error was to blame in at least 35 of 58 crashes reported to be claimed by "unintended acceleration."
In an announcement this week, the NHTSA also said that no evidence of electrical or programming faults had been found in the 'black box' logging systems of each vehicle.
Investigations where driver error was determined to be the cause of the accident showed that the brake pedal had not been depressed at all, while a further fourteen cases showed partial braking and nine more showed the pedal had been depressed only at 'the last second' before impact.
The study has so far been limited to models built after 2007, with most earlier Toyota models not having pre-crash data recorders fitted.
While the investigation is far from over, this early evidence will come as some relief to the Japanese carmaker, itself maintaining the position in past months that in more than 4000 tests and on-site inspections, it could find no evidence of flaws in the electronic controls of its vehicles.
"At this early point in its investigation, NHTSA officials have drawn no conclusions about additional causes of unintended acceleration in Toyotas beyond the two defects already known -- pedal entrapment and sticking gas pedals,” the NHTSA report read.
Toyota Australia confirmed in February that accelerator pedals for Toyota vehicles sold in Australia, and those manufactured locally for export, are provided by a different supplier and unaffected by the concerns emanating at the time from the US. There have been no reports of unintended acceleration for Toyota models in Australia.