Believe the experts, and give NHTSA the tools it needs
It is long past time to take the notion that some electronic gremlin caused sudden acceleration in Toyotas and bury it alongside the theories that President Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States, the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center were an inside job and Elvis is alive and well somewhere.
The highly publicized reports of sudden acceleration in Toyotas have been thoroughly investigated. It has been concluded that Toyota responded slowly and inadequately to those reports and that sticky accelerator pedals and stacked-up floor mats may have been factors along with driver error.
But the findings of a National Academy of Sciences panel of experts found no evidence of any high-tech glitch -- the same conclusion reported earlier by electronics engineers from NASA working on behalf of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Typically, plaintiffs' attorneys and their shills are those who still steadfastly insist that neither NHTSA nor the National Academy of Sciences proved that it wasn't an electronic gremlin that wrested control of vehicles away from drivers. That's because the lawyers represent some of those drivers who refuse to accept the concept of driver error.
Though "it's impossible to prove a complete negative, ... all the data available" to the academy's panel "indicated the conclusion that there was no electronic or software problem" that may have caused the reports of unintended acceleration in Toyotas, the panel's chairman said last week.
The panel's other conclusion also is noteworthy. It says NHTSA ought to have more expertise in electronic systems to conduct routinely the kind of thorough investigation needed in this age of electronics.
It makes perfect sense to give NHTSA the resources it needs to protect American motorists. But it also makes sense to accept the findings of electronics experts from NHTSA, NASA and the National Academy of Sciences.