Last November, USAToday reported

Toyota said today that its cars don’t have a rampant sudden acceleration problem for any reason other than driver’s side floor mats that can become lodged under the gas pedal.

“The question of unintended acceleration involving Toyota and Lexus vehicles has been repeatedly and thoroughly investigated by NHTSA, without any finding of defect other than the risk from an unsecured or incompatible driver’s floor mat,” said Bob Daly, senior vice president for Toyota Motor Sales USA, in a statement.

Toyota said there is no evidence that unintended acceleration could be caused by any defects other than an improperly installed or incorrect floor mat, the Associated Press reported.

But now, Toyota on its website attributes the problem to

a friction device in the pedal designed to provide the proper “feel” by adding resistance and making the pedal steady and stable. This friction device includes a “shoe” that rubs against an adjoining surface during normal pedal operation. Due to the materials used, wear and environmental conditions, these surfaces may, over time, begin to stick and release instead of operating smoothly. In some cases, friction could increase to a point that the pedal is slow to return to the idle position or, in rare cases, the pedal sticks, leaving the throttle partially open.

I don’t know about other people, but I don’t want my accelerator petal to have any sort of artificial feel imposed by something that rubs. As I recall from sticking my head under one too many dashboards, accelerator petals often have springs attached, which can serve the same purpose in what would appear to be a far safer method than described above. Trying to control friction seems to be asking for trouble.  I wonder if this is something that is considered necessary on cars, and, if so, by whom.


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