Early findings by the U.S. Department of Transportation indicate that drivers were to blame in some sudden-acceleration accidents, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing people familiar with the results.
Preliminary results show some cases of driver error, the Journal reported Wednesday. "The early results suggest that some drivers who said their Toyotas and Lexuses surged out of control were mistakenly flooring the accelerator when they intended to jam on the brakes," the Journal said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has yet to release the findings and it declined to comment about them, the Journal said.
This year, Toyota has been beset by a seemingly endless string of high-profile accidents and lawsuits involving its cars and trucks and has instituted numerous recalls, primarily involving stuck accelerator pedals and floor mats.
The Japanese car company has also had recalls related to electronic issues, recalling the 2003 Sequoia SUV, the Lexus GX 460 SUV, and 2010 Prius. These cases involved stability control (Sequoia and Lexus GX 460) and antilock braking systems (Prius).
Toyota, however, has steadfastly denied any computer control problems related to electronic throttle systems that may result in sudden unintended acceleration.
The Journal report seems to back Toyota's position to some degree, citing Toyota's internal investigation. "The Toyota findings appear to support Toyota's position that sudden-acceleration reports involving its vehicles weren't caused by electronic glitches in computer-controlled throttle systems, as some safety advocates and plaintiffs' attorneys have alleged."
Other reports, however, have emerged after the Journal piece saying that the government has yet to reach a conclusion. "The government said Wednesday it had not reached any conclusions about whether Toyota drivers may be to blame for their vehicles suddenly accelerating, a problem that has led to millions of recalled cars and trucks since last year," the Associated Press reported.