Print 150 comment(s) - last by sxr7171.. on Mar 23 at 8:55 AM

Cops coral Jim Sike's unruly 2008 Prius, ready in case it tries to make a break for it. The vehicle took Mr. Sikes on a 90 mph ride through mountainous California highways.  (Source: AP)

Sikes speaks to news reporters at an impromptu conference at a Toyota dealership.  (Source: Denis Poroy, Associated Press / March 9, 2010)
California Police have to assist hapless motorist in attempts to decelerate

When we test drove the Toyota Prius last year, our experience was great.  It was a comfortable ride with plenty of room and received industry leading gas mileage at 50+ mpg.  In addition, customer satisfaction with the top-selling vehicle is the highest among all hybrids in many studies.

Unfortunately, some of the Prius hybrids -- at least older models – appear to have a couple of issues including braking glitches and an ugly acceleration problem.  Those problems are the latest in a long string of safety issues that have stricken Toyota's lineup.  

That problem on Monday led to an alarming close-call on the southern part of California's interstate highway, Interstate 8.  Driving just outside San Diego, Jim Sikes, tried to pass a slow-moving vehicle in his 2008 Toyota Prius.  To his shock, when he let off the gas the vehicle didn't slow down -- it instead sped up.

The car then proceeded to take him on a wild ride down the sunny highways of the Golden State.  He recalls, "I pushed the gas pedal to pass a car, and it just did something kind of funny ... and it just stuck there.  As I was going, I was trying the brakes ... and it just kept speeding up."

He called 911 and the operator tried to give him directions to stop the vehicle.  He even tried to pull the accelerator physically upwards, but it "stayed right where it was" (it is unclear whether Mr. Sikes or the operator tried the logical approach of shifting the car into Neutral, which should disengage the engine).

Unable to figure out a way to stop or slow down the car, the Californian Highway Patrol was enlisted to help the speeding motorist.  They caught up to him as his Prius hurdled down twisting mountain roads at 90 mph.  They communicated with Sikes to attempt to brake and apply the emergency brake and the same time.  That combination apparently worked, bringing the perilous ride to its conclusion.

As the car slowed to 50 mph, Sikes was able to shut off the engine and the car rolled to a stop.  The highway patrol cop, Todd Neibert, then maneuvered his cruiser in front of the rebellious Prius, just in case it decided to go for another joy ride (though that seems pretty unlikely given that it would have to somehow restart the engine).

Toyota has blamed the Prius's problems on defective floor mats.  However, Sikes' mat seemed perfectly fine and stayed in place.  He comments, "My mat was perfect. There was nothing wrong with my mat."

Sikes had taken his Prius in for service at a Toyota dealership two weeks prior to the incident.  This follows the theory held by some that the acceleration is the result of misservice to the vehicle's electrical systems during repairs.

California Highway Patrol spokesman Brian Pennings says he's just glad everyone survived the ordeal.  He comments, "We are extremely thankful that there was a safe end to this."

A Toyota spokesperson says an investigation of the incident is pending.  They commented, "Toyota has dispatched a field technical specialist to San Diego to investigate the report and offer assistance."

Toyota is under fire from Congress for reportedly covering up some of the early data indicating certain models had safety issues, including uncontrolled acceleration.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Is it so hard
By Ratinator on 3/9/2010 6:09:38 PM , Rating: 4
I have had accelerator stick before. What I can't fathom is why it is so difficult for people to shift into neutral and shut off the engine. Really it is not that hard to do.

RE: Is it so hard
By foohawt on 3/9/2010 6:13:04 PM , Rating: 5
That would require common sense, and common sense is not very common

RE: Is it so hard
By Jeffk464 on 3/9/2010 6:20:31 PM , Rating: 4
I think he said that he did shift the car into neutral and it didn't do anything. If the computer is controlling the tranny, I can see this happening. This is also the second time I heard of a out of control toyota being shifted into neutral and having no effect. Luckily the prius is not a power monger like that Lexus that crashed. I might have to get a kill switch hooked up to my fuel pump and put on the dash of my Tacoma. I have plenty of unused dummy switches on my dash.

RE: Is it so hard
By Sanctusx2 on 3/9/2010 6:42:26 PM , Rating: 5
Nope. He was too afraid to shift into neutral.

He feared turning the car off in the middle of traffic, expecting the steering wheel to lock. If he shifted into neutral, he worried that it would slip into reverse.

RE: Is it so hard
By KingofFah on 3/9/10, Rating: 0
RE: Is it so hard
By KingofFah on 3/9/10, Rating: 0
RE: Is it so hard
By Fracture on 3/10/10, Rating: -1
RE: Is it so hard
By Blight AC on 3/10/2010 9:58:55 AM , Rating: 2
Cruise Control is disabled by braking. So no... wrong answer, as he reportedly tried braking right away.

RE: Is it so hard
By bhieb on 3/10/2010 10:17:05 AM , Rating: 1
In a prius the e brake may very well stop the car. It isn't like there is some 400 HP beast under the hood. If he pulled the ebrake as hard as possible, it may have eventually stopped him (at the very least he would be slowed tremendously and not accelerate).

RE: Is it so hard
By clovell on 3/10/2010 10:27:42 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah, he did that, but it didn't stop him - just got him down to about 55 mph. Remember that kinetic coefficients of friction are a lot lower than the static ones - eBrake while accelerating at 90+ mph just isn't going to do much.

RE: Is it so hard
By Samus on 3/11/2010 12:04:27 PM , Rating: 2
Especially in a Prius with its very low drag coefficient. Coasting to a stop could take miles if your initial speed was 90mph, and I'd never recommend pulling the emergency brake above 50mph because you'd surely spin out and possibly flip the vehicle.

RE: Is it so hard
By KingofFah on 3/9/2010 10:12:16 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, just noticed it says he used the e brake in combination with the police to stop it (I guess the e brake in it can't stop the prius' small motor).

RE: Is it so hard
By Kurz on 3/10/2010 9:49:44 AM , Rating: 4
E brake isn't the best solution.
It locks up the brakes if you pull too much on it.

And they are not meant to stop a car that is out of control.

RE: Is it so hard
By bhieb on 3/10/10, Rating: 0
RE: Is it so hard
By clovell on 3/10/2010 2:24:21 PM , Rating: 2
E Brake isn't going to lock anything up at 90+ MPH that weighs over 3000 lbs.

RE: Is it so hard
By cruisin3style on 3/10/2010 3:43:27 PM , Rating: 2
yeah, when braking supposedly the front brakes do like 90% of the work while the rear brakes do 10%

It could also be very dangerous to have just the rear brakes braking in some situations, especially at high speeds

RE: Is it so hard
By Alexvrb on 3/9/2010 10:22:11 PM , Rating: 2
IF it allowed you to do this, putting it into reverse would likely be just as bad as slamming it into park. It would be bad for your transmission, and would probably lock up your wheels and cause you to lose control. Thankfully, I don't believe it would let you do this. It *should* let you shift into neutral, but not in all cases, especially not with the throttle stuck open.

RE: Is it so hard
By Regected on 3/10/2010 12:24:06 AM , Rating: 2
Putting an automatic transmission in reverse while going down the road will just cause the torque converter to disengage. That is a safety feature built into most cars since the 70's.

Also, the car going into park at highway speeds would do nothing more than if it were in neutral. The parking pin can not engage the wheel inside the transmission if there is any speed to the wheel. All you will get is a grinding noise.

RE: Is it so hard
By gmyx on 3/10/2010 7:23:56 AM , Rating: 2
Also, the car going into park at highway speeds would do nothing more than if it were in neutral. The parking pin can not engage the wheel inside the transmission if there is any speed to the wheel. All you will get is a grinding noise.

Having done this accidentally at 50kph, a really loud noise is all you get. Getting out of park means pressing the brakes slightly.

RE: Is it so hard
By bissimo on 3/10/2010 10:10:28 AM , Rating: 4
Not always true. I had an 86 Caprice that I accidentally slammed into reverse doing 45 mph once. The back tires just started spinning in reverse while the car kept moving forward. I only left it in reverse for a second or two. I got 50k more miles out of that car before the engine went out, and the tranny never had an issue (the tires were a little bald, though).

RE: Is it so hard
By clovell on 3/10/2010 10:26:01 AM , Rating: 2
Your transmission would disentegrate into constituent peices across the freeway.

Still - I'd have shifted into neutral - if the tranny drops, so what.

RE: Is it so hard
By ineedaname on 3/10/2010 12:23:52 PM , Rating: 2
Every car for every large car manufacturer except for ford and volvo have a safety feature so that if you just tap the gear shift without pushing the button it can ONLY go into neutral. So he wouldn't have accidently got it into reverse.

RE: Is it so hard
By tdktank59 on 3/10/2010 12:38:09 AM , Rating: 2
This is why I choose to drive a manual...

Clutch in, pulls a cable and disengages the clutch. Then I can either proceed to downshift and slow the car down (if say the brakes were broken).

On the other side, I can just pop it out of gear since its all levers and what not and not computer controlled... I can then do quite a few things to slow the car then even if my brakes are out...

RE: Is it so hard
By zinfamous on 3/10/10, Rating: 0
RE: Is it so hard
By Alexvrb on 3/9/2010 10:13:38 PM , Rating: 5
This is straight from Toyota:
Each circumstance may vary, and drivers must use their best judgment, but Toyota recommends taking the following actions:
• If you need to stop immediately, the vehicle can be controlled by stepping on the brake pedal with both feet using firm and steady pressure. Do not pump the brake pedal as it will deplete the vacuum utilized for the power brake assist.
• Shift the transmission gear selector to the Neutral (N) position and use the brakes to make a controlled stop at the side of the road and turn off the engine.
If unable to put the vehicle in Neutral , turn the engine OFF. This will not cause loss of steering or braking control, but the power assist to these systems will be lost.
• If the vehicle is equipped with an Engine Start/Stop button, firmly and steadily push the button for at least three seconds to turn off the engine. Do NOT tap the Engine Start/Stop button.
• If the vehicle is equipped with a conventional key-ignition, turn the ignition key to the ACC position to turn off the engine. Do NOT remove the key from the ignition as this will lock the steering wheel.
A lot of people act like its the driver's fault, and that they only failed to bring the vehicle under control because they were stupid. So I've added some bolding to common things people get wrong when I ask them.
"Oh just throw it in neutral!"
"You won't have ABS with the car off so you might have to pump it yourself."
"Just hit the on/off button or turn the key to off."

If it happens without warning, and you're in a less-than-ideal situation (gridlock, parking lot, twisty road) it could get ugly - especially with a faster car. A V6 Camry would take off like a raped ape compared to this Prius. Imagine if your wife or daughter was driving it, do you think they'd have time to do anything other than attempt to panic-stop?

RE: Is it so hard
By bildan on 3/9/10, Rating: -1
RE: Is it so hard
By Alexvrb on 3/9/2010 10:36:17 PM , Rating: 5
I'd like to think that you're joking. While I would agree that many people on the road probably shouldn't be driving, I think that is a really cocky attitude. You aren't always going to be in a perfect situation when it happens, and if you can't successfully throw it in neutral, things can get fun, especially in rush hour traffic.

You're saying that you'd be confident that your Mom would pass a random accelerator-floored incident with flying colors? Or maybe she needs to be institutionalized also?

RE: Is it so hard
By Kougar on 3/9/2010 11:02:37 PM , Rating: 4
If you are able to dodge cars all the while getting out your cell phone, calling 911, and talking back to the dispatcher, then you have sufficient dexterity to take one hand off the wheel and put the car in neutral.

Once in neutral you retain power steering. It is likely the driver will never be using the car again, so it wouldn't matter if the gearbox is damaged from the maneuver or not.

RE: Is it so hard
By rudolphna on 3/10/2010 7:25:21 AM , Rating: 5
I had a friend test this out. With the car at WOT, neutral does not engage. It doesnt work. It stays IN GEAR. THAT is the problem here.

RE: Is it so hard
By jrick47 on 3/10/2010 12:56:28 PM , Rating: 1
Then you friend is an idiot. I just tried all three solutions on an 09 Prius, under WOT reaching about 45-50 mph. You have to hold the shifter in neutral for less than a second, but not just tap it into neutral. If you press the P parking brake button, it also shifts to neutral, and if you try to put it in reverse it also shifts to neutral.

RE: Is it so hard
By CoreGamer on 3/13/2010 1:12:57 PM , Rating: 2
NOT TRUE. Edmunds tested this a little while back.


A lot of people are trying to defend the people involved in these runaway Toyota stories, but the simple truth is that it is not that hard to stop a car stuck at WOT if you keep calm and use common sense.

RE: Is it so hard
By porkpie on 3/15/2010 10:31:04 AM , Rating: 2
I doubt anyone will read this after-the-fact posting, but it turns out the driver in question very likely faked the entire incident. The wear pattern on the brakes shows he didn't attempt to brake hard, test engineers could not reproduce the stuck accelerator problem, and he has severe financial problems, leading many to conclude he was simply looking for a payout.

RE: Is it so hard
By awer26 on 3/15/2010 1:54:30 PM , Rating: 2
it is not that hard to stop a car stuck at WOT if you keep calm and use common sense .

^^^ah yes, that uncommon thing known as common sense FTW.

RE: Is it so hard
By Newspapercrane on 3/10/2010 10:09:43 AM , Rating: 2
The dexterity of the driver isn't really the issue here. Anyone that can drive a car should be able to shift that Prius into neutral (especially with those little knobs on the dash for shifter). The issue is what percentage of the driving population would know what to do in this situation? This isn't exactly a common occurrence, and do you think everyone who owns a Toyota has read the Toyota recall website? I doubt it.

Also on a side note: am I the only one who wouldn't really care about my transmission at that point? I'm going ninety down the highway and I can't stop... if I have to strip the gears in my transmission to stop, I'm going to.

RE: Is it so hard
By Kougar on 3/15/2010 10:31:41 AM , Rating: 2
From the first moment NBC began airing stories they kept mentioning the steps people should take including shifting the car into Neutral.

If someone owns a Toyota themselves then I would hope they at least have the forethought to Google up the recommended steps to take in case such an event occurs to them, and memorize them.

Going by the Edmunds video link, it's so incredibly easy to shift the gear to neutral that nobody should have trouble with these things. The problem is many of these stories involve people that panic and become afraid of shifting to neutral for any one of a half-dozen absurd reasons. For example the guy in this article said he was so worried about flipping his car that he didn't try it.

RE: Is it so hard
By frobizzle on 3/10/2010 1:28:26 PM , Rating: 2
If you are able to dodge cars all the while getting out your cell phone, calling 911, and talking back to the dispatcher, then you have sufficient dexterity to take one hand off the wheel and put the car in neutral.

I think he should've just tried to send a text message to the police.

</facetious mode>

RE: Is it so hard
By piroroadkill on 3/10/2010 6:07:59 AM , Rating: 2
I'm confident my mother would stop her car if the accelerator stuck, then again, she drives a manual (just like most people in the UK) so it would be second nature to slam the clutch in when braking (since that's how you brake.. anyway)

RE: Is it so hard
By Alexvrb on 3/9/2010 10:25:58 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, and before I forget, this one is for Jason Mick:
Unfortunately, some of the Prius hybrids -- at least older models – appear to have a couple of issues including braking glitches and an ugly acceleration problem.

It's not just older models that were having issues. Hopefully they have resolved the issues with their 2010 redesign!

RE: Is it so hard
By hyvonen on 3/10/10, Rating: 0
RE: Is it so hard
By DominionSeraph on 3/10/2010 2:30:43 AM , Rating: 5
Stereotypes don't arise in a vacuum.
The simple fact is, most women aren't mechanically inclined. They may be able to operate a device within its normal operating range, but they rarely understand WHY it works. This leaves them at a distinct disadvantage when the device is no longer within its normal operating range.

RE: Is it so hard
By zmatt on 3/10/2010 9:06:56 AM , Rating: 4
Just as long as we realize that this is not a product of being a female, but one of our own culture. my old man said never give a woman something that plugs into the wall as a gift. so far so good.

RE: Is it so hard
By JediJeb on 3/10/2010 10:16:58 AM , Rating: 3
Sadly most men now days fall into this category also. I know many who think of cars just like a TV, you turn it on, turn it off or drive it, anything else is just "magic" in how it works.

RE: Is it so hard
By walk2k on 3/10/2010 3:36:00 AM , Rating: 1
Wow we've come a long way when a car company has to say "STEP ON THE BRAKE PEDAL" to tell people how to stop a car.

Is it really so far-fetched to believe that PEOPLE WHO GET BEHIND THE WHEEL OF A CAR KNOW HOW TO DRIVE?

Then again I guess their very own commercials basically say the car drives itself.

RE: Is it so hard
By Drag0nFire on 3/10/2010 10:11:04 AM , Rating: 2
I do think most drivers on the road would panic. But this is not a checklist that needs to be executed in perfect order to see results. It essentially says, "turn off the engine while braking". Even under pressure, this is pure common sense. Anyone who wants to survive should be able to figure this out.

RE: Is it so hard
By Amiga500 on 3/9/10, Rating: -1
RE: Is it so hard
By Jeffk464 on 3/9/10, Rating: 0
RE: Is it so hard
By Jeffk464 on 3/9/10, Rating: 0
RE: Is it so hard
By LRonaldHubbs on 3/9/2010 6:49:11 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, the shutoff mechanism is not logical. However, doesn't the owners manual in virtually every car ever say specifically to read and understand the manual in full prior to operating the vehicle? Sounds like he violated the EULA :p

RE: Is it so hard
By Amiga500 on 3/10/10, Rating: 0
RE: Is it so hard
By emarston on 3/10/2010 8:50:05 AM , Rating: 2
You have to hold the button for 3 seconds not press 3 times. Just like shutting down a computer that is locked up. While it seems like a long time (it probably should be slightly shorter) you do have to prevent accidental shutdown.

This isn't rocket science. If you are going to drive a car then you should take a few minutes to learn the at least the key operational parameters of the vehicle. That being said I'm happy to be driving a 6-speed manual :) It certainly makes for less concern about this type of issue.

RE: Is it so hard
By zmatt on 3/10/2010 9:08:45 AM , Rating: 2
I think it's 3 seconds so you don't accidentally turn off the car if you tap the button.

RE: Is it so hard
By Kurz on 3/10/2010 9:47:34 AM , Rating: 2
There is a difference between a tap and holding it down for any length of time.

Still thats probably why they did it.
They should've choosen a shorter interval.

RE: Is it so hard
By Solandri on 3/10/2010 5:23:35 PM , Rating: 1
Or a switch with two pressure thresholds. Push it down and it acts normally. Jam it down with a large amount of force and it instantly shuts off the engine.

RE: Is it so hard
By ZachDontScare on 3/10/2010 2:36:05 PM , Rating: 3
It was a rental

That explains things nicely.

I wonder if his plan went like this: rent a toyota, pretend the car accellerated on its own, and get a huge payday from the legal settlement.


RE: Is it so hard
By theapparition on 3/10/2010 4:00:58 PM , Rating: 2
Please don't bother responding if you're not going to research the topic correctly.

The rental in question was a Lexus that crashed over a year ago, driven by a highway patrol officer.

But don't let facts get in your way of justifying your already made-up mind on this issue.

RE: Is it so hard
By AssBall on 3/10/2010 12:37:44 AM , Rating: 2
You know the dumbest part is that Toyota sent out a warning letter to people (at least new owners) that detailed these intsructions exactly. Stupidity and ignorance kill more often than machines. Call it Darwinism.

RE: Is it so hard
By quiksilvr on 3/9/2010 6:29:32 PM , Rating: 2
It's called FREAKING OUT MAN! But seriously, it would have been an easy solution.

RE: Is it so hard
By Mitch101 on 3/10/2010 10:23:43 AM , Rating: 5
I agree with you as someone who experienced the accelerator on their car getting stuck on a car with about 350hp.

It happened to me just after I started the car and was on my way from my development the parking lot. Not much breathing room here which doesn't help your stress level when it happens. I hit the gas and it stuck. First I hit the brakes but the car doesn't stop immediately because only the front it stopping while the back is still trying to push the car. I was just starting out so the car did stop in an ok distance. Now my rear tires are spinning up a smoke storm and squealing while your mashing the brake because your car wants to launch itself. Ok put it in neutral like the first poster says, which I did, BAD IDEA, and now your engine instantly starts screaming like a banshee as it throws your RPM's over your 7000rpm tach and the noise from your engine sends you into a panic as your expecting pistons and parts to be thrown in every direction. The noise is insane. You panic and guess what you do? Because of the screaming engine you may put it back into drive (Very Bad Idea). You launch a bit but are now tearing up the pavement. Seeriously I dug up pavement. Brain finally kicks in and you turn the key shutting off the car. All this happens in about 5 seconds.

While most everyone can say what they think they would do in this situation the reality is it happens so fast it takes you from casual outing to what the hell do I do when your not expecting it. It will not occur to everyone to turn the car off. I didnt and put the car through a few things before shutting it down. It probably didnt help that this car had about 350hp and could hit high 12's in the quarter mile.

What caused the issue is we were looking at the engine and my buddy put the air cleaner on backwards and the downtube caught the accelerator link. I made sure that would never happen again. Kudos to Chevy and the trans (Rock Crusher from a Corvette) for holding out from my neutral drop.

Im sure its not nearly as chaotic on a 90-130hp car but if you were never told turn the car off your at the mercy of your un-common sense.

RE: Is it so hard
By sxr7171 on 3/23/2010 8:55:52 AM , Rating: 2
Aren't you aware the rev limiter will kick in? It will just keep hitting the limit and the gas will be cut and it will keep doing it in a cycle until you switch off the engine. You automatic drivers have no clue how anything works. If you put the car in neutral of course the engine will make a loud noise, but the rev limiter will protect the engine.

RE: Is it so hard
By walk2k on 3/9/10, Rating: -1
RE: Is it so hard
By CurseTheSky on 3/9/2010 8:46:38 PM , Rating: 1
Actually, plenty of cars continue to accelerate when the brakes are applied fully. Not all (and not many, IIRC) cars have active fuel cutoff when brakes are applied. To make matters worse, anything more than your "average" 120-140 HP four banger commuter car will cause the brakes to fade very quickly if they're stuck at WOT.

Whether or not the Prius applies here, I don't know. What I do know is that they should A) make sure all cars can ALWAYS be shifted into neutral, no matter what, and B) teach people the effects of shifting into neutral. Yes, these stuck-open accelerators should never be happening, but it's something everyone needs to be prepared to deal with, no matter what car you drive.

RE: Is it so hard
By zmatt on 3/9/2010 9:05:39 PM , Rating: 2
wrong. Unless we are talking about a poorly modified car where the owner greatly increased engine power and didn't upgrade the brakes.

Unless by average cars you mean 540hp Stage 3 Rousch Mustangs your point is baseless and simply not true. Brakes are a hydraulic system that is not directly controlled by the ecu of the car and not linked in any way to the throttle linkage in a car. There is no reason that the brakes would not work with a stuck accelerator, and even if by small chance in a unrelated failure to the accelerator the brakes did fail, shifting into neutral or putting it into park in autos and pushing in the clutch on manuals will easily solve the problems. Engines have rev limiters so they wont hurt themselves.

Toyota needs to fix this and quick before any more damage is done. It is Toyota's fault, but the fact that someone died from this (and a cop too) just shows how poorly people are taught how to drive. They need to get their heads out of their rear and learn a thing or two about how the world around them works. If my accelerator stuck I wouldn't have a problem avoiding a wreck, but that's only because i know how a car works.

RE: Is it so hard
By kmmatney on 3/9/2010 11:53:11 PM , Rating: 2
I saw the interview with the guy - he said he was basically standing on the brake pedal, and pulling the emergancy brake hard, and he was going up a 6% grade uphill when it finally stopped. They think it might not have been able to stop without the hill, even with the brakes and e-brake fully applied.

I don't get what's wrong with switching into neutral - I've done that plenty of times in my 1999 Camry while going down large hills in Colorado. However new cars may be different.

RE: Is it so hard
By walk2k on 3/10/10, Rating: -1
RE: Is it so hard
By Alexstarfire on 3/10/2010 8:28:35 AM , Rating: 1
I don't think many people realize that the real problem is that the regular brakes don't work on the Prius when this happens. Pressing the brake when the accelerator is stuck does nothing, it is/was a flaw (can't say if it was a software issue or a mechanical one as that was never mentioned). Anyway, the eBrake will always work. I could see it failing if you're going too fast, but IDK. I've never used it to stop my Prius as I haven't had too.

Still, I don't see why this is a big issue. Let Darwinism run its course. Maybe it'll mean they have stricter/harder driving tests.

RE: Is it so hard
By erple2 on 3/10/2010 3:18:34 PM , Rating: 2
Ultimately, if the e-brake is also computer controlled (and not a dumb-simple connection between the lever and the brakes, bypassing the ABS), then you're still in a potentially difficult position. The same situation holds in the Prius. The brakes are completely controlled by the computer. There is no direct connection between the brake pedal and the physical brakes that are engaged. There are several layers of software between the two. One for regenerative braking, one for the ABS system at least. The transmission isn't a manual process either - it's more akin to a software "switch", kind of like hitting the "next" button on your iPod. If the ECU freaks out, it may not change songs to the next song. Similarly, if the ECU is no longer receiving a signal from the gear lever to shift, you're SOL.

Is the on/off switch for the ignition also controlled by the ECU? You can't simply turn off the Prius by pressing a button, if the ECU is no longer interpreting the signal from the power button.

For a non-computer controlled car, shifting into neutral is an obvious "yes". Rotating the key to the ACC position is another way to do it. But in the Prius (and other modern cars), your control inputs are interpreted first by a computer. Then the computer turns off or on whatever function you're looking for.

It boggles my mind that people don't understand that.

RE: Is it so hard
By jrick47 on 3/10/2010 3:49:10 PM , Rating: 2
The E-brake is not computer controlled in the Prius, 08-09 at least. The P button on the dash to shift to park is, but if you hit that button while driving, it instantly shifts to neutral, ever tried it?

RE: Is it so hard
By theapparition on 3/10/2010 12:05:16 AM , Rating: 4
but that's only because i know how a car works.

You need to do a little more homework.

Brakes are a hydraulic system that is not directly controlled by the ecu of the car

Know what ABS is? It takes inputs from various sensors and automatically modulates your brakes. Most modern ABS designs are computer controlled.

How about stability control. Uses brakes to selectively apply brakes to keep you pointed in a strait line. Computer controled.

All my cars (and I bet most modern cars) have a separate brake computer. At the very least, it's integrated. The NHTSA also tracks cases where unitended brake application has happened due to computer error.

There is no reason that the brakes would not work with a stuck accelerator,

This I fully agree with you in principle, but without any further knowledge of Toyota designs, I wouldn't say that for certain.

and even if by small chance in a unrelated failure to the accelerator the brakes did fail, shifting into neutral or putting it into park in autos and pushing in the clutch on manuals will easily solve the problems.

Curious that Toyota even mentions problems with shifting into Neutral. Granted, this is the first thing that I would do, even before trying to stand on the brakes, but perhaps that is not an option. I speculated about that before in another article, and can fully program my GM cars to disallow gear selection. Modern cars don't have the same hard linkages that 68 Hemi's did.

It is Toyota's fault, but the fact that someone died from this (and a cop too) just shows how poorly people are taught how to drive.

While I agree with you that overall driving skills are far lacking, the fact that a highway patrol officer died lends credence in my mind that this problem is more serious than a stuck pedal. It's quite possible this cop was a moron, but it is also quite possible that the Lexus' computer systems got so confused, making shifting impossible.

RE: Is it so hard
By zmatt on 3/10/2010 7:56:53 AM , Rating: 2
That is all indirect, stability control is a dynamic system that can easily be disengaged, if stability control were the issue then braking wouldn't fail. Same with abs, if abs goes out, you lose abs, not brakes. As for the computer replacing the transmission linkage that is a major design flaw no matter who does it. Cars should always have mechanical backups, computers aren't reliable enough. The ecu in my family's chrysler lhs has gone out twice, if the steering and braking ultimately depended on such a crappy piece of equipment then that car would have been in a wreck by now.

RE: Is it so hard
By albundy2 on 3/10/2010 6:33:40 AM , Rating: 2
regenerative braking...

it uses the electric motor for a portion of it's braking power... it provides NO braking power when accelerating. the real brakes are piddly, tiny, pathetic things, because thats all they needed to equip the cars with in combination with the regenerative braking.

RE: Is it so hard
By zmatt on 3/10/2010 9:19:21 AM , Rating: 3
The prius has all wheel disc brakes, weighs 3000lbs and has a 98 hp engine. It has the power to weight ratio of a slug and decent brakes. The problem seems to be, as far as I can tell, that the car actually chooses regenerative braking first and standard braking as a second option. If the problem is computer related, which it looks like it is. It is likely the the system does not engage regenerative braking and then fails to allow the brakes to do their job. Which is another reasons that cars shouldn't be drive by wire.

RE: Is it so hard
By Jaybus on 3/10/2010 3:54:27 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, I agree. Braking in a car MUST be a fail-safe system. The question is, is a fail-safe braking system possible with regenerative braking? For regenerative braking to work, there has to be a way to allocate braking between regen and disk. The regen system SHOULD be additive. In other words, a normal hydraulic braking system that is completely separate from the regenerative braking system, other than the regen system has a sensor to tell when the brakes are being applied. In other words, the regen system should be read-only. It shouldn't affect the hydraulic system in any way. But I bet they didn't do that, because that would make the "feel" of the brakes very different from what people are used to. I would be similar to putting air brakes in a car. They would work just fine, but wouldn't feel "right" because the feedback is so different.

I agree that though this isn't the cause of the stuck accelerator, it is probably the culprit in why people can't seem to stop the car when the accelerator sticks. They are reporting that "the brakes don't work", and the drive-by-wire going schizo would explain it.

RE: Is it so hard
By bildan on 3/9/2010 10:25:47 PM , Rating: 1
Actually, there has never been a car so powerful the brakes couldn't stop it even at full throttle.

RE: Is it so hard
By theapparition on 3/9/2010 11:48:12 PM , Rating: 1
That's an unsubstansiated statement if there ever was one.

Proper design of a car should have a braking system that would overpower any acceleration under any condition.

1. You are assuming proper design. Lets hope corners were not cut to save cost, resuse existing designs, or just plain poor engineering.
2. Any power modifications to the engine could overwhelm the stock brake systems. Yes I know that doesn't apply in this case, but you did say NEVER.
3. Different compond pads and associated wear on the braking system could contribute factors to diminished performance.

So, never say never.

RE: Is it so hard
By beerhound on 3/10/2010 9:42:25 AM , Rating: 4
Back in the 90s there was a rash of incidents in the news where people claimed they hit the brake pedal and the car accelerated. All most all of them were blamed on people panicking and hitting the wrong pedal. In the middle of all the media hysteria, one report I saw mentioned that the brakes on cars in the US had to be able to hold the car still at wide open throttle to be legal. What most people misinterpret from that requirement is that the vehicle is sitting still to meet it. When you have 3 or 4 thousand pounds rolling down the road at 60+, that is a boat load of kinetic energy that has to be dissipated. It is mostly converted into heat. Brakes get less effective when they are hot, which is the reason the term "brake fade" even exists. It is entirely possible to heat up the brakes to the point where they couldn't overcome the engine while the driver was using both legs to press the pedal to the floor.

As too the "shift it into neutral" idea, most modern automatic transmissions have some sort of electronic shift control. One of the functions is to protect against damage. It is possible that the computer might not allow it to be shifted into neutral or park under some conditions.

RE: Is it so hard
By zmatt on 3/10/10, Rating: 0
RE: Is it so hard
By mikerick39 on 3/11/2010 10:50:01 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong. Brake fade happens all the time in normal cars under normal conditions in hilly or mountainous areas. Try driving twenty miles of switchbacks in North Carolina and then make a panic stop. Oops!

RE: Is it so hard
By Amiga500 on 3/10/10, Rating: 0
RE: Is it so hard
By stimudent on 3/9/2010 8:23:08 PM , Rating: 1
Don't get me started on people who don't know enough to put their transmission into neutral when they're on an open highway.
Of course it's quite a different story for anyone to react fast enough when in a parking lot and this happens.

RE: Is it so hard
By Hiawa23 on 3/9/2010 9:26:04 PM , Rating: 2
I only buy cars with manual transmissions.

RE: Is it so hard
By ajoyner777 on 3/10/2010 6:35:29 AM , Rating: 2
When I was 16, I had a 1978 Olds Cutlass that exhibited this problem after I floored it to see how fast I could go around some curves near where I worked. Stomping on the gas didn't work. Pressing on the brake did absolutely nothing. In a panic with a T intersection coming up fast I threw it into neutral and hit reverse instead. The back of the car bounced around and it killed the engine. I started the car back up and drove off. I was very surprised that all the gears still worked and the motor mounts were still intact. Of course this was a beast built in the 70s, not some tin can.

RE: Is it so hard
By iFX on 3/10/2010 8:32:17 AM , Rating: 5
Engine speed and gear selection is handled by the computer on new Toyotas. There is no physical linkage for either . You can physically put the gear selector in neutral but it only sends an electrical signal to the computer and when the engine speed is wide open the computer WON'T make the shift to prevent the engine from over-revving and causing engine damage. So as long as the throttle is stuck open you can't shift. Once the engine speed comes down the computer will make the shift.

Get your facts straight before you go judging others.

RE: Is it so hard
By emarston on 3/10/2010 8:54:53 AM , Rating: 1
Rev limiter will not allow a modern engine to over rev... I know this from experience. It has nothing to do with whether you are in gear or not.

RE: Is it so hard
By jrick47 on 3/10/2010 1:04:39 PM , Rating: 2
Ever tried it? I just did in a Prius under full acceleration and it shifted to neutral just fine

RE: Is it so hard
By BikeDude on 3/15/2010 5:04:50 PM , Rating: 2
Who says the AT on the vehicles exhibiting problems worked normally?

How many RPMs did you manage to get on your Prius before you attempted switching it into Neutral?

Could the problem be that the AT did not engage a higher gear, thus revving the motor near the rev limiter thus keeping the AT from allowing Neutral to be engaged?

RE: Is it so hard
By jonmcc33 on 3/10/2010 8:37:04 AM , Rating: 1
What I can't fathom is why it is so difficult for people to shift into neutral and shut off the engine. Really it is not that hard to do.

1. People aren't smart when it comes to cars. Most don't even know what neutral is. That's the unfortunate effect of automatic transmission over the years. People just know park, reverse and drive. This is usually more common with women than men.
2. People panic when something unexpected like this happens. Not everyone can handle stressful situations the way you do. When you realize this you will start to fathom the situation a little better.

RE: Is it so hard
By rbfowler9lfc on 3/10/2010 10:05:17 PM , Rating: 2
Well, no wonder why american drivers never make it to the world class racing series like F1 (except for Mario Andretti, eventually). They can barely drive an automatic car that can be operated with only ONE arm and one foot !

By lightfoot on 3/9/2010 7:11:00 PM , Rating: 3
I didn't even realize that a Prius could hit 90 MPH.

But it was going downhill.

RE: Impressive
By The0ne on 3/9/2010 8:23:48 PM , Rating: 3
Not only 90MPH but more, according to the speedometer. Every single freaking day on my drive to work I see at least one Prius driver zooming 90MPH or more. I drive an EVO and I'm pretty confident that those Prius aren't that stable at high speeds. But maybe I'm wrong *shrug*. Maybe those Prius have more of a rally breed chassis and technology than I know of.

RE: Impressive
By CurseTheSky on 3/9/2010 8:48:18 PM , Rating: 2
No only that, but you can be fairly sure that as long as you're keeping your own revs low, you're getting better fuel economy than there are. Don't believe me? Look up Top Gear's "race" between the M3 and the Prius. ;)

RE: Impressive
By Camikazi on 3/9/2010 8:48:48 PM , Rating: 2
Yea I see them on the highway every once in a while, sometimes I'm in a bad mood and just want to tap one on the side see if it will lose control or something :P Mean I know, but those things annoy me, damn rolling eggs.

RE: Impressive
By matt0401 on 3/9/2010 10:43:11 PM , Rating: 2
There are lots of Youtube videos of all sorts of car enthusiasts testing our their vehicles. I remember seeing a video from inside of a Prius on a highway and it was going 180 km/h (software limited). So they can go over 180 km/h. What is that in American... 120 mph?

RE: Impressive
By zmatt on 3/9/2010 11:47:53 PM , Rating: 2
I think he was being sarcastic. The prius is embarrassingly slow. Even 120mph is a lame top speed. Not that a car needs to go that fast, but with higher specs to have better performance elsewhere, better acceleration, longer gears for fuel economy,a higher top speed follows.

RE: Impressive
By matt0401 on 3/10/2010 3:12:28 AM , Rating: 2
He was obviously being sarcastic. I just don't like trolls. ^_^

RE: Impressive
By walk2k on 3/10/2010 3:28:04 AM , Rating: 2
180kph = 111.8 mph

Maybe, downhill...

i laughed at his name
By rika13 on 3/9/10, Rating: 0
RE: i laughed at his name
By dflynchimp on 3/9/2010 8:06:52 PM , Rating: 2
the truth hurts, which is probably why you were rated down.

political motives asides, the fact is Toyota really needs to retain a clean slate to retain its customer trust. This is especially true for its hybrid technology, which competitors and opponents are already quick to bash or put down.

Truth is most traditional ICE driven car problems have been documented over nearly a century of trial and error, but Hybrid technology, for being around a decade of age in the public eye, is still within the public perception of "revolutionary" or, in more negative terms, "risky".

In twenty years, no one will bat an eye at something like this (or the problem will become obsolete by then)... or we run out of petrol by then all all this is moot point.

Here's to me hoping that we'll all be running Mr. Fusions and Flux Capacitors by then... only 5 years until 2015!

RE: i laughed at his name
By xmichaelx on 3/9/2010 8:29:39 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, this is all part of a socialist plan by the democrat party to destroy America a foreign car maker.

(Time to get your talking points straight, rika...)

RE: i laughed at his name
By ICBM on 3/9/2010 8:30:53 PM , Rating: 3
I was thinking along these lines as well until I heard about the "black box" and how Toyota has constantly changed their story on what it does/doesn't record, needing a court order to get the info off of it, settlement after settlement, ONE laptop in the country to read it. Plus it being experimental/prototype since 2001? This stuff makes it seem like they are hiding something, and that something is big. They really need to come clean on this, and quickly. Just the black box stuff has crossed Toyota off of my car list for a long long time.

RE: i laughed at his name
By B166ER on 3/10/2010 3:25:51 AM , Rating: 2
Seriously, you REALLY believe there is some Party backing behind this shit? Are you for fucking real? I don't care if its Repubs or Demos, the simple reasoning behind your statement is ludicrous. What next? Nike has a recall on Air sneakers, and the Repubs feel its all about their precious rubber plants in Cambodia? Fucking theorists!
Look, I'm all about the craziest of theories behind all crazy shit but the simplest one, the easiest one is staring you in the face (lawsuit? MONEY???)and you're all about getting that Demo party in their place. I hope you aint American, cause if you are we're fucked.

RE: i laughed at his name
By eskimospy on 3/10/2010 8:32:32 AM , Rating: 2
Guys! He found it out! The media reporting that Toyota makes cars that randomly accelerate and kill their drivers is actually all a plot by the 'librul' media and the Demon-RATS to prop up the unions and send god fearing Americans to Obama's communist negrofication camps.

Know what this spells to me? Oligarhy. Where's my chalkboard?

RE: i laughed at his name
By Masospaghetti on 3/10/2010 9:05:22 AM , Rating: 2
You REALLY think that the gub'ment is pushing this?

Notice that 1) Fox News, hardly a friend of the White House, was providing coverage of this runaway Prius, and 2) the corruption goes deep between Toyota and the NHTSA that deserves attention, and problems involving Toyotas would have been discovered years ago if the NHTSA wasn't covering the up.

RE: i laughed at his name
By ZachDontScare on 3/10/2010 2:41:58 PM , Rating: 2
Damn, I wish I hadnt posted already or I'd have voted you up.

Toyota is now a competitor to the US government, since the US owns most of GM. There's some serious conflict of interest going on with the government investigating Toyota. Just one of the side effects of nationalizing industry.

And you're right... the unions have the Obama administration by the juevos, and Toyota is not unionized. It doesnt take a rocket scientist to realize that the administration has a lot of incentive to go after Toyota.

Just maybe...
By kjboughton on 3/9/2010 9:17:27 PM , Rating: 1
Perhaps everyone should take a moment and re-familiarize themselves with the location and operation of their EMERGENCY brake.

The emergency's not just for parking on a hill.

RE: Just maybe...
By walk2k on 3/9/2010 9:23:54 PM , Rating: 2
Actually that's the last thing you want to do. Pulling the handbrake is a sure way to lose control.

RE: Just maybe...
By The Raven on 3/9/2010 11:45:17 PM , Rating: 2
It may be the last thing, but yes, you do want to do it.

Really the last thing you would want to do is ram into an object like a tree and pray the airbags save you.

RE: Just maybe...
By walk2k on 3/10/2010 3:32:00 AM , Rating: 2
If you pull the handbrake you'll only hit the wall sideways instead of head on.

Yeah sure as the "last" thing before hitting something you want to scrub off speed any way you can, true. But the handbrake won't do any better than the brake pedal unless you have a massive (hydraulic) brake failure. It only works on the rear brakes which are typically much smaller than the front, and certainly not as effective as both together.

RE: Just maybe...
By The Raven on 3/15/2010 1:48:19 PM , Rating: 2
If you SLAM the e-brake you may loose control and who knows what will happen. But if you apply it rationally, then you will stop. It doesn't matter if it is only the brakes in the rear or not, or if those brakes are smaller. You can stop your car. Go out and try using your e-brake to stop and I guarantee you will want to edit your post.

RE: Just maybe...
By clovell on 3/10/2010 10:39:09 AM , Rating: 2
How about you actually take a second to think before you post, dude? There's no way in hell that a mechanically assisted handbrake is going to lock the rear wheels of a 3500 lb automobile at 90+ mph. NO WAY. Control will not be lost.

Think, dammit.

I have an explanation for both instances...
By The Raven on 3/9/2010 11:42:54 PM , Rating: 1
#1 The Police Officer:
Someone had him rubbed out because he got wise to some criminal activity. A rental car would be perfect for that seeing that the company assigns the car to you.

#2 Jim Sikes:
He new he was going to get pulled over for speeding and just went with it knowing about the accelerator probs that Toyota has been having. He said he accelerated to pass a truck. Yeah, that is exactly what I said when I got my last ticket. And it was true. Unfortunately I was pulled over prior to this Toyota fiasco and didn't have that as an excuse. This guy has watched Tommy Boy one too many times.

Seriously, I think this whole thing is rediculous. If congress is so worried about the safety of people on our roads, then why don't they investigate the incidents and complaints more fully, instead of asking Toyota if they were witholding info about a problem that no one has proved even exists. Let's get to the bottom of the problem. Attacking the manuf is not the answer. This is bad enough for Toyota without the gov't trying to tip the scales in favor of GM and Chrysler.

Audi went through this before and apparantly we learned nothing.

By LRonaldHubbs on 3/10/2010 7:35:24 AM , Rating: 3
#2 Jim Sikes: He new he was going to get pulled over for speeding and just went with it knowing about the accelerator probs that Toyota has been having. He said he accelerated to pass a truck. Yeah, that is exactly what I said when I got my last ticket. And it was true. Unfortunately I was pulled over prior to this Toyota fiasco and didn't have that as an excuse. This guy has watched Tommy Boy one too many times.

You're ignoring the fact that he wasn't being pulled over. He personally called 911 to get police assistance, and the responding officer reported that he could see the man unsuccessfully trying to slow down.

RE: I have an explanation for both instances...
By The Raven on 3/15/2010 1:51:58 PM , Rating: 2
Ok here's another one: He was late for work and he had a big presentation that he JUST HAD TO get out of for whatever reason. He figured that this was the only way he could get out of "x" obligation...

I'm just saying that this guy's got a motive because it doesn't add up.

And now there are the question arising:

By LRonaldHubbs on 3/16/2010 7:21:31 AM , Rating: 2
I wasn't saying that the guy didn't stage it -- we'll know the truth on that soon enough. I was just saying that he very clearly did not stage it for the purpose of avoiding a speeding ticket.

By Maxfli81 on 3/10/2010 9:35:02 AM , Rating: 2
well, we learned nothing but great companies do learn. Audi bounced back and I am confident Toyota will as well. They are putting in place structures and processes in their system to make sure these issues don't happen again. Therefore, in the future if you don't want unintended acceleration, buy a Toyota.

Speeding ?
By tanishalfelven on 3/9/2010 10:52:44 PM , Rating: 3
THis maybe unpopular but think about it.
What if this guy just wanted to go really fast and decided to blame it on toyota.

I mean think about it.
1. he had enough time to call 911 on his cell phone and wait for them to show up.
2. in all this time he didn't try using the brakes or the e-brake.

also for people saying what if you wife or kid was driving.
well my wife and kid better know enough about cars to operate them when something goes wrong. driving licences these days are too easy to get. Maybe US should enforce a finland like driving test which includes skid pads and what not.

RE: Speeding ?
By kmmatney on 3/9/2010 11:57:18 PM , Rating: 3
Of course he was trying the brakes. He didn't try to e-brake until later, but he said that he was basically standing on the brake pedal, and the police officer reported a strong smell of brakes when he pulled first engaged the car.

RE: Speeding ?
By walk2k on 3/10/10, Rating: 0
RE: Speeding ?
By Masospaghetti on 3/10/2010 9:09:13 AM , Rating: 3
If a 2008 vehicle already has faulty brakes, then Toyota has another issue on its hands.

By OldSpanna on 3/10/2010 7:52:01 AM , Rating: 2
With all this talk of shifting to neutral.
Did any of you guys realise the Prius has CVT trans?
As I understand, there is no neutral.

RE: Prius
By jrick47 on 3/10/2010 3:50:31 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Prius
By Krotchrot on 3/10/2010 5:18:26 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, I guess that N in my Prius stands for Not neutral. Or maybe Nevermind. But it does seem to work when the guy at the car wash tells me to put it in Neutral.

Something smells fishy
By Maxfli81 on 3/10/2010 9:04:58 AM , Rating: 2
A lot of things about the duration of this wild ride smells fishy. Shame on the media if they are trying to stir up sensationalism without proper investigations.

RE: Something smells fishy
By B166ER on 3/11/2010 12:20:34 AM , Rating: 2
I agree, every news outlet I've checked so far has not made any non biased attempt to read into the story more. They simply have "car went fast, owner got scared, called police, car stopped, shame on Toyota", and nothing more. The story is wayyy to fishy; Car went fast, accel stuck AND brakes don't work, dudes soooo scared he cant stop or put car in neutral, but he can call the police, and they had time to catch up with dude?
But of course, this is Obamas fault.

By thepenguin99 on 3/10/2010 1:12:29 AM , Rating: 1
Can't blame Darwin for trying.

RE: Well,
By wompirebat on 3/10/2010 8:30:40 AM , Rating: 1
I, for one, appreciate Toyota's efforts to try and eliminate the kind of person that would own a Prius. Now I'm not saying that all Prius owners are gay... “Hey, what's Dennis saying there, man? Is Dennis saying all *Prius owners* are gay? Is Dennis saying all gays are *Prius owners*? “.... You know what I'm saying..... all *Prius owners* are gay.

-ty Dennis Miller

*Asians *

By thorr2 on 3/10/2010 4:13:11 AM , Rating: 2
This whole thing reminds me of the movie Speed. Just imagine trying to deal with traffic when you can't slow down.

This doesn't sound right
By krose on 3/10/2010 6:41:19 AM , Rating: 2
They caught up to him as his Prius hurdled down twisting mountain roads at 90 mph.
There's no way you can go 90 on such a road without crashing. He'd be at the bottom of a canyon.

Self Aware
By Mitch101 on 3/10/2010 9:48:49 AM , Rating: 2
Is anyone else worried the Toyota Priuses are becoming self aware. You expected Skynet or some other military weapon to begin the terminator race but no thats where they get us all when the Prius becomes self aware and terminates us all!

Not that hard
By twhittet on 3/10/2010 10:54:29 AM , Rating: 2
I've had this happen at least 3 or 4 times with a 2000 grand am. Each time I floored it on purpose to accelerate quickly - and it stayed there. Each time I used common sense - either quickly using my toe to pull the pedal back, or simply shifting into neutral. Total time wildly accelerating - 3 seconds. Not that difficult!!

Let's be logical for a second
By mlZr on 3/10/2010 11:20:19 AM , Rating: 2
If we assume that the ECU had the engine and electric motor in WOT (certainly plausible at this point!), we can take a look at the way this car behaves:

1. Regenerative braking is key to the brake system. In this situation there is no regen braking, the electric subsystem is providing acceleration
2. The fastest way to heat up breaks is to apply constant pressure under full load with full acceleration. Anyone who has ever raced cars (or even karts!) knows this. Would the driver have been able to stop the car if he immediately slammed the brakes? Probably. Would anyone ever slam the brakes while on the interstate? No.
3. Once the underpowered brake system (no regen, remember) gets hot enough, it's mostly useless. Rotors are hot, fluid is hot, etc.
4. Ripping the ebrake at 90mph is a pretty unsafe idea. Locking tires at this speed is unsafe for any car, never mind a low-drag hybrid on skinny tires with a drone driver.
5. This car is equipped with a computer controlled CVT transmission. Mechanically, it is difficult for a CVT to shift into N under full load - especially under full load from a gas engine and an electric motor. Additionally, people rarely (if ever) shift into N. I'm not going to lsiten to all these boy racer fantasies about how everyone needs to understand everything the way a vehicle operates. Most people buy cars (especially toyotas) as simple transportation. This isn't going to change.
6. This car is quipped with a push button ignition. When in park, you jsut press the button to turn off the engine. While in drive, you have to hold the button. Very few operators ever have to turn their car off while at speed.
7. Toyota's bread and butter over the past decade and a half is to provide basic, easy, efficient transportation for people who don't like cars. They sell appliances. This doesn't make their buyers bad people, or even stupid people. it jsut makes them people who don't love cars like some of us. They have constantly worked to sperate the driver from the drive, because that's what their customers want. This was absolutely the worst possible situation for both the company and the drivers to deal with an issue like unintentional acceleration.

Toyota buyers have counted on the big red T to provide them with an appliance that goes from point A to point B in comfort an efficiency. These people don't like cars, they like transportation. Toyota has gone farther and farther away from what cars used to be. This can be great, if everything works as advertised. It's not right now, and it's dangerous. Toyota really needs to imporve their QC/QA and software if they ever want to get out of this mess.

By Spivonious on 3/10/2010 1:05:07 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly, the accelerator pedal SHOULDN'T STICK. All of these people whining that he should have done this and should have done that are missing the point.

Most autos can't shift into neutral/reverse/park unless the throttle is disengaged and the brake is pressed. Trying to drive a power steering car without power assist is next to impossible, so turning off the car would be a great way to lose control and hit something, not to mention you lose power assist on the brakes. The emergency brake will do nothing if the throttle is wide open. I've accidentally left the e-brake on in quite a few vehicles. If the throttle is applied, it's not stopping the car. Also, from what I've read, the guy was standing on his brakes and the car wasn't slowing down. The cop who died a few months back stood on the brakes until they burned up and the car didn't stop. Next time you're in your car and in a safe area, floor the gas pedal and apply the brakes. I guarantee that the only result will be the smell of hot brake pads.

The best part of the whole story was that this guy got the recall notice, took it into the dealer, and was told his car was fine.

Toyota better find the real problem and fast, before they lose their customer base.

Oh Noes!
By Ammohunt on 3/10/2010 2:54:07 PM , Rating: 2
I have this problem with my Prius too! my accelerator gets stuck at 90Mph on the way home everyday! thankfully it frees itself about a mile from home every time.

By camylarde on 3/11/2010 5:50:40 AM , Rating: 2
clutch and keys in the ignition anyone?

Am glad i hate automats.

By Beenthere on 3/10/2010 10:34:58 AM , Rating: 1
...the brake pedal is not on the RIGHT.

It took a cop in a police cruiser talking over a loud speaker to tell the driver to shut off the engine... Where do these people get a driver's license?

He should not be on the roadways!
By Beenthere on 3/10/2010 1:23:18 PM , Rating: 1
Any driver who does not know enough to apply the brakes, shift into neutral and shut off the ignition in the event of a stuck accelerator lacks the appropriate driving skills and knowledge to be operating a motorized vehicle and they are a danger to society - as this man proved. Yank his license and that of every other person who lacks the proper skills to be driving.

I Call BS On This.
By Spacemenow17 on 3/9/10, Rating: -1
RE: I Call BS On This.
By DigitalFreak on 3/9/2010 8:23:30 PM , Rating: 2
He does kinda look like a douche. Waiting to see if a lawsuit gets filed.

RE: I Call BS On This.
By LRonaldHubbs on 3/9/2010 8:35:36 PM , Rating: 5
He does kinda look like a douche.

Well he was driving a Prius...

RE: I Call BS On This.
By theapparition on 3/10/2010 12:08:27 AM , Rating: 2
Probably shouldn't mention this, but he was also wearing a Corvette club jacket.

There's some polar opposites.

RE: I Call BS On This.
By Brutus1234 on 3/9/2010 9:19:36 PM , Rating: 1
I can't remember the specific number but the number of complaints to NHTSA is about 1600 over the last 10 yrs

That averages about 1 every other day ( give or take )

You should be seeing this on the news everyday.

Of course this is all a conspiracy by the UAW and the Obama administration that started in 2000 or so. Man those guys think longterm.....

RE: I Call BS On This.
By zmatt on 3/9/2010 10:03:35 PM , Rating: 2
The car issues are definitely Toyota's problem and Toyota's fault, however the fact that they are getting grilled in congress smells of unfair treatment. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the congress men and women thought about the implications this could have on GM car sales.

RE: I Call BS On This.
By DominionSeraph on 3/10/2010 2:10:17 AM , Rating: 3
These are the same folks who grilled baseball players about steroid use, and bank executives multiple times about bonus payments they were contractually obligated to make.

Congress is full of clowns. Not much can be done about it, though; because no smart, pragmatic, down-to-earth person is going to get themselves caught in the gears of a broken system. We'll just continue to work around Congress until the revolution throws them all out.

RE: I Call BS On This.
By Brutus1234 on 3/10/2010 2:41:19 PM , Rating: 2
Taken from Tuesday's USA Today
2 more runaway issues

It is in the news every other day.

RE: I Call BS On This.
By The Raven on 3/15/2010 2:00:24 PM , Rating: 2
Umm... one of those incidents is Sikes'. Read your own reference article before you post hyperbole extrapolated from it.

Your post should read:

Taken from Tuesday's USA Today 1 more alleged runaway issue


It is in the news everyday.

Thank you very much sensationalist media!

RE: I Call BS On This.
By walk2k on 3/9/2010 9:28:19 PM , Rating: 1
I have to agree. I dunno about conspiracy but this guy just seems too dumb for this to be real..

"I tried the brakes!!" - bullshit, you didn't press and hold the brake pedal, or the car would've stopped.

"I was afraid it would go into reverse!" - idiot, it won't because there's a lockout.. Besides what's the alternative, smash into a tree at 60mph?

Smells a bit too much like fresh manure to me.

RE: I Call BS On This.
By kmmatney on 3/9/2010 11:55:13 PM , Rating: 2
I think the guy was stupid not trying to place the car in neutral, but he was definately applying the brakes. The police officer who stopped him said there was a very strong brake smell.

RE: I Call BS On This.
By walk2k on 3/10/2010 2:46:01 AM , Rating: 2
So you're saying this was a major failure of the brake system AND a stuck throttle problem? Both at the same time? What are the odds??

I've never seen (and would never buy) a car that didn't have a direct link from the brake pedal to the master cylinder (and slaves). Do they even exist? I don't think so.

ABS only engages when wheel-lock happens, which obviously didn't happen in this case because you can't tell me a Prius motor can overcome 4 locked wheels skidding on the pavement. LOL not by a LONG shot.

RE: I Call BS On This.
By SlyNine on 3/10/2010 5:28:03 AM , Rating: 2
So you're saying this was a major failure of the brake system AND a stuck throttle problem? Both at the same time? What are the odds ??

I'd say 1 in 139682. Apparently.

RE: I Call BS On This.
By bildan on 3/9/2010 10:26:53 PM , Rating: 2

RE: I Call BS On This.
By SirKronan on 3/11/2010 11:10:12 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I need to cash in on this too. I can get away with a nice free joyride as fast as I want. If I get in a wreck and don't die, I can blame my car. I might even be able to cash in on some lawsuit money or something ... What a great time to own a Prius!!!!

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki