In the 80s, my mom had an Audi 5000. It’s value was destroyed by allegations of sudden, uncontrollable acceleration. No plausible physical mechanism was ever identified.
Today, Toyota’s suffering from the same fate. A more likely explanation? Operator error. Stepping on the gas instead of the brake transforms the normal negative feedback loop controlling velocity into a runaway positive feedback:
… 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.
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 …
Given time, the driver can model the situation, figure out what’s wrong, and correct. But, as my sister can attest, when you’re six feet in front of the garage with the 350 V8 Buick at full throttle, there isn’t a lot of time.
Read more at the Washington Examiner