Toyota Facing $16 Million Fine …

From an entity that is probably best described not as the US government but as the competition’s board of directors.  Your humble blogger Professor Anderson and his Beloved Wife, on the other hand, went out and bought a Camry on the last day of the 0% financing sale.  Although mostly engaged in Rational Ignorance on the subject, my rationally ignorant guess on the “mechanical” issue was largely shaped by Megan McArdle:

In the original Sudden Acceleration Incident craze that afflicted America in the late eighties, the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration eventually ruled that the problem was “pedal misapplication”, aka stepping on the gas when you meant to step on the brake.  These incidents were highly correlated with three things:  being elderly, being short, and parking (or leaving a parking space).    The elderly are more prone to the sort of neuronal misfiring described in yesterday’s New York Times.  Shorter people have to hunt more for the pedals.  And starting up from a complete stop is the most likely time to press the wrong pedal.

I was interested in Frank’s argument, so I took a look at the LA Times article, which is really admirably thorough.  Here are the results, categorized into a nifty, though not necessarily particularly useful, spreadsheet. I went one further than Frank, tracking down the ages of all but a couple of the named drivers. If y’all wondered why I wasn’t blogging today, well, there’s your answer.  I’ve excluded three cases where the information was just too sparse to have any idea what happened, but otherwise, that’s the complete list.

Several things are striking.  First, the age distribution really is extremely skewed.  The overwhelming majority are over 55.