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Here's some interesting news for anyone still following the Toyota Motor Corp. story about the sudden acceleration issues facing some of its vehicles: According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, the problem might be with the drivers, not the vehicles.

The story reported that the U.S. Department of Transportation analyzed dozens of data recordings from Toyota vehicles that crashed when they jolted out of control and found that in this particular sample the throttles were wide open and the brakes weren't engaged. Oops.

From the Journal: "The results suggest that some drivers who said their Toyota and Lexus vehicles surged out of control were mistakenly flooring the accelerator when they intended to jam on the brakes. But the findings don't exonerate Toyota from two known issues blamed for sudden acceleration in its vehicles: sticky accelerator pedals and floor mats that can trap accelerator pedals to the floor."

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Toyota's American Depositary Receipts trading in New York rose on the report, but not much: In late-afternoon trading, the receipts were up 1.2 per cent, which trail gains by the S&P 500.

The controversial sticky accelerator issue hammered Toyota shares - not to mention the company's reputation -earlier this year. Between January and February, the shares sank 22 per cent and later slid even lower. Some U.S. politicians seemed only too keen to give the non-unionized, non-American company a few kicks along the way, so it will be interesting to see how these preliminary findings affect Toyota in the near term.

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About the Author
Investing Reporter

David Berman has been writing about business and investing since 1995. He has written for a number of magazines, including Canadian Business and MoneySense. He worked at the Financial Post as an investing writer and daily columnist before moving to the Globe and Mail in 2008. More

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