Slow Down

How long and winding will the road of Toyota's recovery be?

Well, of course, step one is to find the cause. But what if there is no cause... at least, no equipment failure. Consider 56 fatalities involving sudden acceleration analyzed by the LA Times.
In the 24 cases where driver age was reported or readily inferred, the drivers included those of the ages 60, 61, 63, 66, 68, 71, 72, 72, 77, 79, 83, 85, 89--and I'm leaving out the son whose age wasn't identified, but whose 94-year-old father died as a passenger.
Did you notice that in each of those cases the drive was 60 or older? What if sudden acceleration is really a case of... irrational exuberance? Perhaps you're wondering how such an incident might unfold.
A driver would step on the wrong pedal, panic when the car did not perform as expected, continue to mistake the accelerator for the brake, and press down on the accelerator even harder.
If this theory pans out, we're talking about a series of senior moments. Self-imposed sudden acceleration!
This had disastrous consequences in a 1992 Washington Square Park incident that killed five and a 2003 Santa Monica Farmers’ Market incident that killed ten—the New York driver, Stella Maycheck, was 74 (and quite short); the California driver, George Russell Weller, 86.
Audi had similar problems ten years ago.
We’re seeing the same pattern again today.  Initial reports of a problem, followed by dozens of new reports “coming to light” as people seek to blame their earlier accidents on sudden acceleration.
Just imagine - if Toyota turns out to be innocent, the apology due the company from the media would dwarf the groveling that would be owed OJ Simpson if one day he actually does corner the real killer on the 12th hole!
Even if one believes all the hype, the reaction so far has been a giant overreaction.  Fifty-odd deaths over 10 years and millions of Toyotas is a drop in the bucket compared to the general risk of being on the road at all.

This could be very good news for Toyota, and very bad news for senior drivers.