Driver error may have been a cause of many of the accidents Toyota cars were involved in during the much-publicised sticking accelerator scandal.
Initial findings from an investigation, being conducted by the US National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), looking into cases of “unintended acceleration”, said data recorders showed the brakes may not have been applied by the driver in 35 of the 58 incidents it had examined.
In nine of the 58 cases, the NHTSA told Congress in a briefing, the brakes had been applied late and in one incident both the brake and accelerator pedals were depressed at the same time.
The NHTSA said it was not drawing any conclusions from its initial report, while a spokesman from the US Transportation Department said the findings would form “one small part” of the government’s plans to “get to the bottom of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles”.
"At this early stage period in the investigation, engineers have not identified any new safety defects," a department spokesman explained.