Friday, February 05, 2010

Toyota recall perspective

In the United States there were 1.27 fatalities per 100 million miles travelled in 2008. In the last 10 years, there have been 19 fatalities due to sudden acceleration in Toyotas. There are roughly 2 million Toyotas sold in the US each year. If each car is driven 12000 miles per year, that's about 1.3 trillion miles driven by Toyotas in the US over the last decade:

12000 * 2M * (1+2+3+...+10) = 1.2 x 10^4 x 2 * 10^6 * 55 = 1.2 x 110 x 10^10 = 1.2 x 1.1 x 10^12 =~ 1.3 trillion

That comes out to about .0015 fatalities per 100 million miles driven attributable to sudden acceleration:

19 / 1.3 trillion =~ 15 / trillion = 15 / 10^12 = .0015 / 10^8 = .0015 / 100 million

So, for the average driver of a Toyota made in the last 10 years, the chance of dying due to sudden acceleration is roughly 850 times less than the chance of dying in an accident due to other causes.

This is just meant to be a rough guess. If I missed something that makes these numbers way off, let me know.