By Angela Greiling Keane – Jul 13, 2010
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Toyota Motor Corp.’s investigations of accidents involving reports of unintended acceleration found “virtually all” were caused by drivers stepping on the wrong pedal, a company spokesman said.

Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, is looking into causes of unintended acceleration in its cars and trucks and has recalled more than 8 million worldwide in the past year for defects such as pedals that stuck or snagged on floor mats. U.S. auto-safety regulators are also probing the causes and haven’t released their findings.

The Toyota City, Japan-based company has reviewed about 2,000 reports of unintended acceleration since March, including analyzing information from event-data recorders when the incidents involved crashes, said Mike Michels, a Toyota spokesman in Torrance, California.

“There are a variety of causes — pedal entrapment, sticky pedal, other foreign objects in the car” and “pedal misapplication,” Michels said today in a telephone interview. Asked how many crashes were linked to pushing the accelerator instead of the brake, he said, “Virtually all.”

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier today that the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s analysis of Toyota data recorders found cases in which throttles were open and brakes hadn’t been deployed.

NHTSA spokeswomen declined to comment on that report.