Odds of Toyota accelerator stick vs. lightning strike

Okay, so I just bought a Toyota a couple of months ago, and now every time I tell someone what kind of car I drive, they always ask me if I've had any problems with my accelerator or they just make some joke about it. Frankly, I'm sick of it. Just because you hear about a recall on the news, it doesn't mean that it affects everyone that owns anything made by that company. In fact, I'm going to go as far as to say that even if you have a Toyota that is supposedly affected by the recall, you probably don't need to fear for your life— unless, that is, you're also afraid of getting struck by lightning.

According to the US National Weather Service, the odds of someone in the US getting struck by lightning in their lifetime (based on actual statistics) is about 1/6250 (or 0.016 %). So that means in order for it to be more likely that your Toyota's accelerator will stick than you getting struck by lightning, the number of actual incidents of accelerators sticking divided by the number of possible cars affected must be greater than 1/6250. So we need to find out the values of those two numbers.

Now, according to Reuters, "[...] a Massachusetts-based consultancy, says it has counted 2,262 incidents of apparent unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles since 1999." So 2,262 incidents in about 10 years. We have our first piece of data. But according to Toyota, no vehicles made before 2005 are affected by the recall. So we can't really use the number vehicles being recalled as our other piece of data. With 2,262 actual incidents, the number of possible cars affected needs to be less than 14,137,500 (2,262 x 6,250) in order for the odds to be greater than 1/6250. Well, Toyota sells about 2 million vehicles per year, which over 10 years, is definitely not less than 14,137,500. Even if not all Toyotas are affected, last I heard, Toyota had already recalled more than 10 million cars that might be affected and that number is steadily getting bigger. So basically, the number of actual incidents of accelerators sticking divided by the number of possible cars affected is not greater than 1/6250.

My point is that if you own a Toyota, it's more likely that you'll get struck by lightning at some point in your life than your Toyota's accelerator getting stuck. I don't know about you, but I'm not worried about getting struck by lightning so I'm not worried about my Toyota's accelerator sticking. And next time someone asks me if I've had problems with my accelerator lately, I'm just going to smile sarcastically and say "No. Have you been struck by lightning lately?"

P.S. According to Toyota, my car is not one of the vehicles affected by the recall.

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