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The 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD is among the over 6 million GM vehicles that are reportedly affected by brake corrosion problems.  (Source: Automotive.com)

Tesla's has added electric braking overrides to its upcoming Model S electric sedan.  (Source: AutoBlog)
New overrides should help prevent unintended acceleration in most cases

Toyota is bearing the brunt of criticism and punishment for its recent unintended acceleration problems.  However, the issue is making the whole industry a bit nervous, as there are reports of similar incidents in models from other automakers.

Toyota is doing its part to try to remedy the issue; earlier this year it announced that it will be rolling out a brake-shift override to all its vehicles next year.  This kind of override cuts power to the engine by putting it in idle if the brake and accelerator are depressed for a prolonged time. 

General Motors this week announced that it too would be installing an override system in its vehicles.  The GM system will be rolled out over the next two years and will be completed in 2012.  GM's system will "reduce power" to the engine, according to 
The Detroit News, but GM hasn't indicated that it will put the engine in idle.  

Tom Stephens, GM's vice chairman of global product operations praised the rollout, stating, "We know safety is top of mind for consumers, so we are applying additional technology to reassure them that they can count on the brakes in their GM vehicle."

GM is having braking problems of its own, which the government is investigating.  Unlike the Toyota problem, which revolves around unintended acceleration, the GM problem involves corrosion of the brake lines, which reportedly led to a "led to a large increase in stopping distance and with the brake pedal pushed to the floor" in models such as the 2003 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD pickups.

Overall, 6 million 1999-2003 GM pickups and SUVs and 189,000 of the 2003 2500 heavy-duty pickups are under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  GM says its cooperating with the government.

Other companies are hopping on the override wagon, too.  Mazda says it plans on rolling out a brake-shift override system similar to that planned by Toyota.  It will finish its rollout by the end of 2011. Barbara Nocera, Mazda's director of government and public affairs commented, "We are rolling it out across the fleet next year. It's an evolving technology that we are applying here and we think that it's something that consumers are very aware of now, because of the Toyota recall issue. We think it's something that customers will value as an added margin of safety."

American electric car maker Tesla is adding an override system of its own.  The software update to Tesla's Model S, an upcoming electric 4-door sedan, cuts power to the engine if the car is in neutral, if the key is in the off position, or if the driver depresses the brakes for more than 2 seconds.  This is important as electric cars would presumably be more susceptible to malfunctions due to cosmic rays or other forms of interference (though the override system could, in theory, malfunction during such an event as well).

Currently a handful of German luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz include brake override protections in their vehicles.  The feature was largely ignored by consumers until the saga of runaway Toyota vehicles.





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