Automotive Engineering Experts On Acceleration Deaths

JeepOn March 15, reported that U.S. regulators have tracked more deaths in vehicles made by Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC and other companies combined than by Toyota Motor Corp. during three decades of unintended acceleration reviews that often blamed human error.

The agency received 15,174 complaints involving unintended acceleration in the past decade and has run 141 investigations of the phenomenon since 1980, closing 112 of them without corrective action. NHTSA’s repeated conclusion that crashes occurred because drivers mistakenly stomped the accelerator became a policy position that caused investigators to take complaints of runaway vehicles less seriously than they should have, safety advocates say.

In March 2002, an automotive engineering expert witness sent NHTSA an 84-page report on crashes involving Grand Cherokees, asking the agency to reconsider its 1989 sudden acceleration findings. The report was prompted by lawsuits against drivers who had been sued because their Grand Cherokees crashed after accelerating out of control.

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