To the Editor:
In the Feb. 22 story "Lawmakers focus on Tacoma complaints," I noticed something that is overlooked in the controversy over sudden/unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles: "complaints."
There is a vast difference between a complaint and a demonstrable problem. It seems as though there is a willingness on the part of many politicians, pundits and journalists to believe that drivers are infallible.
Am I blaming the driver in every instance in which there has been an incident that is allegedly related to sudden/unintended acceleration in a Toyota vehicle? No. However, as someone who has investigated a number of alleged sudden/unintended acceleration events in non-Toyota vehicles, I can tell you that in many cases there was clear evidence that the driver had a foot on the wrong pedal.
In a recent investigation, for example, the Powertrain Control Module from a non-Toyota vehicle had nearly 20 seconds of data showing that the accelerator pedal had been fully applied instead of the brake pedal, even though the driver was emphatic that he had had his foot fully on the brake the whole time.
It makes for good political and journalistic theater to eviscerate the world's largest automaker publicly based on the number of complaints of sudden/ unintended acceleration. However, we need to be careful about treating every complaint as though it is a fact.