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Probe: Driver Error Caused Unintended Acceleration


As Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports, it's very good news for a company still trying to rebuild its reputation.


TRACY SAMILTON: Dean Stewart is service manager for the dealership.

DEAN STEWART: I mean we were open seven days a week, we had two shifts, we were working 90 hours a week just to make sure we could take care of our customers.

SAMILTON: NASA scientists found no evidence for those claims. They did find there was pedal misapplication. There's another way to say that.

STEWART: Driver error.

SAMILTON: Michelle Krebs is an auto analyst with Edmunds.

MICHELLE KREBS: What we always need to think about is: why is there driver error? A lot of times that is caused by design. And Toyota indeed went back to the drawing board and did some redesign on its pedals.

SAMILTON: John Pottow is a law professor at the University of Michigan.

JOHN POTTOW: In terms of these lawsuits, I don't want to say the lawsuits are dead, but it's certainly time when you have that awkward discussion about the living will.

SAMILTON: But Edmunds analyst Michelle Krebs sees a silver lining. She says Toyota is learning from the mistakes it made even before the recalls.

KREBS: They didn't listen to what was going on in the United States back in Japan where all the decisions were made. They are trying to fix that.

SAMILTON: For NPR News, I'm Tracy Samilton in Ann Arbor. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tracy Samilton covers the auto beat for Michigan Radio. She has worked for the station for 12 years, and started out as an intern before becoming a part-time and, later, a full-time reporter. Tracy's reports on the auto industry can frequently be heard on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as on Michigan Radio. She considers her coverage of the landmark lawsuit against the University of Michigan for its use of affirmative action a highlight of her reporting career.