Incidents of unintended acceleration are an industry-wide problem requiring a new, more co-ordinated approach, Edmunds.com said on Friday.
“Our review of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data shows that unintended acceleration is an industry-wide problem. Every car company has unresolved complaints for unintended acceleration. Because the problem is pervasive and a comprehensive fix remains elusive, a fresh approach is called appropriate,” the Los Angeles-based auto buyers guide and auto industry analysis firm said.
Edmunds said Toyota, currently “under the microscope” for its spate of recalls does have more unintended acceleration complaints than its competitors though most complaints were filed after the first safety advisory announcement last year.
“The emphasis of the recent Congressional hearings seems to have been who learned about what and when they learned it. The core issue of what’s really causing the unresolved cases [of] unintended acceleration has been skirted,” said Edmunds’ CEO Jeremy Anwyl in a website article titled Question Congress’ Hearing Won’t Answer: Are Cars Safe?
“The truth is that no one can say for sure. What’s called for is an unprecedented, cross-industry and government safety agency collaboration to pool data and resources that gets to the bottom of unintended acceleration once and for all,” added Anwyl.
Edmunds analysed NHTSA databases for complaints filed against those automakers before 30 September, 2009 and after that date. On 29 September, Toyota announced a consumer safety advisory regarding potential floor mat interference with the accelerator pedal.
The analysis, which looked at 2005 to 2010 models, showed that, after the safety advisory was issued and received intense media attention, 601 unintended acceleration complaints were filed against Toyota from 1 October to 3 February, 2010. In the nearly five years prior to the advisory, Toyota had 532 such complaints. In total, Toyota’s complaints exceeded the number filed against the rest of the big six automakers combined.
While a flurry of new complaints were filed since the safety advisory was issued, Toyota still had the highest number of unintended acceleration complaints of any of the big six before 30 September.
Toyota’s rate of complaints was the highest of the six at 4.81 per 100,000 vehicles sold. Ford ranked just behind Toyota with 339 total complaints for a rate of 3.12 complaints per 100,000 vehicles sold. General Motors’ was the lowest at 0.81 complaints per 100,000 vehicles sold.