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The tail of a comet is not suspected to be the cause of unintended acceleration

Toyota has been hit hard with widespread issues with its Prius and other cars that have suffered from glitches with brakes or unintended acceleration. Toyota was forced to recall a large number of its vehicles to install new parts to prevent wear of the throttle pedal that was the cause of some of the issues.

The last headline-making bout of unintended acceleration happened in early March when police in California had to help a motorist who was reportedly unable to stop his Prius from accelerating. reports that the U.S. Transportation Department has announced that it intends to launch a pair of major investigations that will seek to determine if vehicle electronics or electromagnetic interference are to blame for unintended vehicle acceleration incidents that have been rampant recently.

The investigations will be headed by the National Academy of Sciences and the other will be run by NASA. According to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the investigations will not focus on Toyota alone and will focus on all manufacturers. So far, Toyota is the most affected of the automakers and the recall to fix issues with floor mats and throttle pedals has covered 8.5 million of the automakers vehicles so far.

Since 2000, a total of 3,000 complaints including 51 deaths have been linked to Toyota vehicles that failed to stop accelerating. Toyota maintains that EMI and electronics are not the cause of the issue and that trapped or malfunctioning pedals are the cause.

"Many members of Congress think it's electronics and I heard enough of that -- not only from members but from Toyota drivers ... and so we felt we really needed to get outside experts," LaHood said. "We are tapping the best minds around." 

Toyota added, "We expect they will bring a thorough and scientific approach to their examination of the issues. Separating fact from fiction can only be good for the motoring public and the industry as a whole. We are confident in our vehicles and in our electronics. We will lend our full support and cooperation to DOT and NHTSA as they moved forward."

The investigations will reportedly last 15 months and will seek to find and address any safety issues with any vehicle on the road today in America. All possible causes for unintended vehicle acceleration will reportedly be investigated including electronics, human error, mechanical failure, and interference with accelerator systems.

According to LaHood, the department will spend $3 million on the two studies including the cost of buying cars that have allegedly suffered from unintended acceleration. The NHTSA has brought in engineers and other experts for the investigations on topics such as electromagnetic compatibility among others in an attempt to determine if flaws in vehicles on the road warrant a defect investigation. The review of the Toyota electronic throttle control system is expected to be completed by late summer reports the NHTSA.

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Big Brother Getting to the Bottom of it all!~
By Yeah on 3/30/2010 12:26:39 PM , Rating: 1
My heart goes out to the people that may have died as a result of vehicle malfunction. I find it a poor excuse to say that floor mats may be the cause of this issue.

I wonder though if this is just a quicker way for Big Brother to get their hands on the Toyota Code Key to access the black boxes in their offerings. I thought I had read somewhere that Toyota refused to give up the access codes required to de-crypt their black boxes to investigative authorities on this matter.

Chin tap.

RE: Big Brother Getting to the Bottom of it all!~
By rvd2008 on 3/30/2010 12:35:23 PM , Rating: 1
Toyota refused to give up the access codes

Obviously, they do not want as it may incriminate them further. I am sure, "a total of 3,000 complaints including 51 deaths have been linked to Toyota vehicles that failed to stop accelerating" is just a tip of the iceberg and these codes may uncover many more accidents.

RE: Big Brother Getting to the Bottom of it all!~
By Scabies on 3/30/2010 12:42:23 PM , Rating: 2
or give up trade secrets that give them an edge over competitors?

By rvd2008 on 3/30/2010 12:53:51 PM , Rating: 3
BS, what kind of competitive advantage can you get from crash data? You could buy a new Toyota, reverse engineer it and that can give you much more knowledge. Why would you go via complicated rout?

RE: Big Brother Getting to the Bottom of it all!~
By porkpie on 3/30/2010 12:48:54 PM , Rating: 3
"I am sure "a total of 3,000 complaints".. is just a tip of the iceberg"

Actually, I'm sure its just the reverse-- that the vast majority of those 'complaints' are operator error and me-too copycat attention-seekers drawn by a rapidly developing media circus.

RE: Big Brother Getting to the Bottom of it all!~
By rvd2008 on 3/30/2010 12:57:03 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree for a simple reason: complaints go back to year 2000, while media circus just started.

By porkpie on 3/30/2010 1:02:45 PM , Rating: 5
Err, complaints of sudden acceleration in cars actually date back to the 1950s. The NHTSA receives thousands annually, the vast majority of which are traced to simple "pedal confusion". Driver error.

As for complaints per vehicle sold, As of 2009, Toyota is only slightly ahead of Ford (1:65,000 vs. 1:50,000) and slightly behind Volkswagen.

This media scare has all the hallmarks of the similar Audi sudden-acceleration scare from the 1980s, which also turned out to be fake:

RE: Big Brother Getting to the Bottom of it all!~
By porkpie on 3/30/2010 1:10:23 PM , Rating: 5
That article from 1989 is so relevant to today, I'm going to post a piece of it here:
The [Audi] exhibited "sudden acceleration," a fatal propensity to take off at full speed even as the terrified driver rammed the brake pedal to the floor.

CBS's "60 Minutes" ran a devastating expose of the Audi 5000. Audi customers fled. Lawyers cashed in. The American public was saved, yet again, from the perils of technology gone awry. Only one little noticed footnote remains at the end: There was nothing wrong with the car.

...But a story to the effect that cars accelerate when drivers step on the accelerator doesn't boost television ratings or jury verdicts. And driver error is understandably hard to accept for a mother whose errant foot killed her six yearold son. So with the help of such mothers, CAS and CBS knitted together a tissue of conjecture, insinuation and calumny. The car's cruise control was at fault. Or maybe the electronic idle. Or perhaps the transmission.

"60 Minutes," in one of journalism's most shameful hours, gave air time in November 1986 to a selfstyled expert who drilled a hole in an Audi transmission and pumped in air at high pressure. Viewers didn't see the drill or the pump—just the doctored car blasting off like a rocket.

Junk science of this kind moves fast . Real science takes time to catch up with this kind of intellectual cockroach and squash it. Government agencies in Japan and Canada, as well as in the U.S., conducted painstaking studies. The Canadians who are franker about such things, called it "driver error." In America, where we can't attach blame to anyone whose name doesn't end with Inc., it was called "pedal misapplication." And unsurprisingly, it's not just Audi drivers who commit it...

By Reclaimer77 on 3/30/2010 1:22:33 PM , Rating: 2
Yup. Just like CBS (or one of them, what's the difference) putting dynamite in GM trucks to "simulate" what happened in a wreck. Only on TV do vehicles explode people...

RE: Big Brother Getting to the Bottom of it all!~
By rvd2008 on 3/30/10, Rating: 0
RE: Big Brother Getting to the Bottom of it all!~
By porkpie on 3/30/2010 1:39:38 PM , Rating: 4
Actually, you can make it up -- and the driver did in fact do so. Read some of the posts on the DT thread on that story...that was one of the most glaring cases of fraud I've seen in a while.

Besides all the other evidence against this person (who incidentally bears a lengthy history of scamming), the smell of burning brakes is some of the strongest evidence against him. It proves the brakes were working, and that he continually applied them moderately to overheat them, rather than braking hard and simply stopping. On a Prius, the brakes can generate more than 50 times the force the engine can-- if they're working, the car will stop fast.

I won't even go into the sheer idiocy of assuming a failure affecting the brakes, the throttle AND the engine off switch simultaneously -- all without leaving a shred of evidence. I'll just point out this driver refused to switch into neutral when instructed by 911, and within hours of the incident, hired an attorney well known for instituting large lawsuits against Toyota.

RE: Big Brother Getting to the Bottom of it all!~
By rvd2008 on 3/30/10, Rating: -1
RE: Big Brother Getting to the Bottom of it all!~
By porkpie on 3/30/2010 2:38:02 PM , Rating: 4
"His breaks were not just overheated - they were completely worn-out..."

My brakes were completely worn out the last time I took it in for service. Does that mean my car suddenly accelerated?

" Toyota itself confirmed it..."

Actually, Toyota confirmed the wear pattern on the brakes was inconsistent with his story. That he had been braking moderately, rather than attempting to stop the vehicle.

"Cop confirmed break lights and smell - do you suspect he is lying too? "

Which word did I use that you couldn't understand? The man USED his brakes. He rode them for miles to fake an incident. Of course the cop saw brake lights and smelt hot brakes. That's evidence against the man, not for him. Had the drive-by-wire brakes failed, he wouldn't have been able to apply them. And had they been working (which they obviously were) he would have been able to stop the vehicle.

"If you hit gas and break simultaneously in a modern car like Toyota Prius, breaks should take precedence and limit engine RPMs..."

Why? Brakes are FAR stronger in power than your engine -- even if you drive a 500hp monster. There are a billion cars on the road today that don't have this feature, and still are more than safe enough.

"There is excellent video on consumer reports explaining why breaking is not enough to overcome the engine..."

BS. In the previous story, I posted several links debunking just this bit of junk science. Furthermore, several noted car experts and sites (such as Edmunds) have already called foul on this guy's story.

"I do not want to speculate why this guy did not try neutral or engine off..."

The reasons are obvious. As are his reasons for immediately hiring an attorney to sue Toyota. And the reasons his ex partner and a few other people say he has a long history of such scam.

RE: Big Brother Getting to the Bottom of it all!~
By rvd2008 on 3/30/2010 3:11:55 PM , Rating: 2
ok, I will bite one more time. Watch this

It explains why you can not stop a car if throttle is wide open and you lost break power assistance. This is a fact.

RE: Big Brother Getting to the Bottom of it all!~
By porkpie on 3/30/2010 3:24:31 PM , Rating: 3
Response from a test by Car and Driver:
With the Camry’s throttle pinned while going 70 mph, the brakes easily overcame all 268 horsepower straining against them and stopped the car in 190 feet—that’s a foot shorter than the performance of a Ford Taurus without any gas-pedal problems and just 16 feet longer than with the Camry’s throttle closed.

Same test by
The third test simulated a racing engine causing the car to speed out of control and the driver reacting by just hitting the brake pedal as hard as possible. Even though in this case the brakes had to overcome the motive force of the engine, they did. The car came to a halt in 148.8 feet, a distance that perhaps a large, heavy-duty pickup might make under normal maximum braking. With practice (this is, after all, a non-standard test), Josh was able to whittle this distance down to 129 feet. In other words, even if the driver of a runaway car (well, a Camry, anyway) doesn't think to put the transmission into neutral before hitting the brakes, it is still possible to stop the car within a reasonable distance if sufficient pedal force is applied.

Same test by Motor Trend Magazine:
we devised a simple additional test: We accelerated each of the cars to just under 60 mph, floored the gas, and then within two seconds nailed the brakes while keeping the gas pedal floored. We then measured the distance it took to bring each of the cars to a complete halt from 60 mph, and compared that to our tested 60-0 mph braking distances. Same cars, same track surface, same driver.

By Chillin1248 on 3/30/2010 6:43:17 PM , Rating: 4
And to finish up his point, here are Toyota's findings regarding the runaway prius:

• The accelerator pedal was tested and found to be working normally with no mechanical binding or friction. It should be noted that the Prius is not subject to a recall for sticking accelerator pedals and the Prius component is made by a different supplier than the one recalled.

The front brakes showed severe wear and damage from overheating. The rear brakes and parking brake were in good condition and functional.

• A Toyota carpeted floor mat of the correct type for the vehicle was installed but not secured to the retention hooks. It was not found to be interfering or even touching the accelerator pedal.

The pushbutton power switch worked normally and shut the vehicle off when depressed for 3 seconds as the 911 operator advised Mr. Sikes to do.

The shift lever also worked normally and neutral could be selected. The neutral position is clearly marked and can be easily engaged by moving the lever left to the “N” marking.

• There were no diagnostic trouble codes found in the power management computer, nor was the dashboard malfunction indicator light activated. The hybrid self-diagnostic system did show evidence of numerous, rapidly repeated on-and- off applications of both the accelerator and the brake pedals.

• After examination of individual components, the front brakes were replaced and the vehicle was test driven, during which the vehicle was observed to be functioning normally.

During testing, the brakes were purposely abused by continuous light application in order to overheat them. The vehicle could be safely stopped by means of the brake pedal, even when overheated.

And finally:
The Prius braking system uses both conventional hydraulic friction brakes and a regenerative braking system which switches the electric drive motors into brakes to generate electricity.

The system features a sophisticated self- protection function which cuts engine power if moderate brake pedal pressure is applied and the accelerator pedal is depressed more than approximately 50 percent, in effect providing a form of “brake override.”

This function, which is intended to protect the system from overload and possible damage, was found to be functioning normally during the preliminary field examination.

Toyota engineers believe that it would be extremely difficult for the Prius to be driven at a continuous high speed with more than light brake-pedal pressure, and that the assertion that the vehicle could not be stopped with the brakes is fundamentally inconsistent with basic vehicle design and the investigation observations.


By lyeoh on 3/31/2010 12:50:35 PM , Rating: 2
If it's that Sikes guy you are talking about , unless there's lots of bad reporting, apparently he claimed to have reached down with his hand to pull up the accelerator...

He was repeatedly told to shift to neutral but refused because he claimed he thought it was unsafe, and yet he still dared reach down and try to pull up the accelerator while his car is speeding along?

Toyota cars _might_ have "unintended acceleration" problems, but that guy is unbelievable.

On the other hand the case of Juanita Grossman prevents me from confidently blaming the drivers and saying it's not Toyota's fault. Perhaps Grossman did screw up at first, but who knows, the evidence has gone cold or has been destroyed.

RE: Big Brother Getting to the Bottom of it all!~
By gsellis on 3/31/2010 8:43:13 AM , Rating: 2
It was not a Camry. It was a Prius. The Prius has regenerative braking, ABS, and master ECU all tied together. When it finally fleshes out, I will bet that the fault is in error handling from the ABS module.

As far as Camrys go, this proofs that if there is no lockout by any of the systems, the brakes will stop the car.

By porkpie on 3/31/2010 12:18:57 PM , Rating: 2
Hello, regenerative brakes use the electric motor to retard movement. This is supplanted by a regular hydraulic system which uses normal brake pads.

Since the brake pads in this Prius were hot and smoking (by the driver's own admission and a state trooper on the scene), the hydraulic system had to be working normally.

Even if this were NOT the case, this case would have required the failure of three independent systems simultaneously (abs, hydraulic brakes, and engine throttle) AND for all 3 systems to magically fix themselves a few minutes later, leaving not a trace for anyone to see.

RE: Big Brother Getting to the Bottom of it all!~
By bhieb on 3/30/2010 1:43:26 PM , Rating: 3
Let me put on my tin foil hat to disagree.

If one wanted to it could have been faked. All you'd have to do is drive with the accelerator down and the brake. Times are tough if you wanted to better your chances at a big legal payola, this would be the smart way to do it. Get the cops involved so it seems as legit as possible. Bottom line is that there is no proof he was not holding it down on purpose and faking panic on the 911 call to further legitimize his claim.

Now I'm not a conspiracy nut, and I think the truth is somewhere in the middle where it often is. I am sure some have been Toyota's fault and some driver error, but this is hardly a slam dunk win or definitive either way.

RE: Big Brother Getting to the Bottom of it all!~
By porkpie on 3/30/2010 1:47:38 PM , Rating: 2
How is one driver faking a problem a conspiracy?

There's no conspiracy here. Media smells a story that sells copy. ABC hiring an auto engineer to short circuit a Toyota ECM to "prove" there's a problem (yes, it happened) doesn't imply a conspiracy. They're just trying to boost viewership.

None of the thousands of people who registered complaints are conspiring either. Most are honestly convinced they hit the right pedal when they didn't. Without the media blitz, many of them would have realized they made a mistake, but if they're in a Toyota now, its gotta be Toyota's fault, right?

Some smaller percentage of those complaints are from actual scammers and attention seekers. But they're not "conspiring" either. Each is acting on their own, for their own particular benefit.

By bhieb on 3/30/2010 1:56:09 PM , Rating: 2
Posted as the same time as you. I was merely agreeing with you that if one wanted to fake the situation you could easily. Obviously you've followed it closer, and from the looks of it that is exactly what happened.

Like I said the truth is really in the middle. There may (and I stress may)have been some that did accelerate on their own, but as you've said (and I in another post) the braking power should overwhelm the engine. Very few cars (if any) can stay at speed with the brake and gas fully depressed.

RE: Big Brother Getting to the Bottom of it all!~
By sjlee33 on 3/30/2010 12:36:08 PM , Rating: 2
Well if you're looking for a conspiracy, I think you can find one anywhere. BTW what level of encryption goes into those black boxes? besides what info is stored in them that "Big Brother" would use against us? not trying to be snarky just curious.

RE: Big Brother Getting to the Bottom of it all!~
By abel2 on 3/30/2010 3:02:07 PM , Rating: 2
I may be completely wrong, but I was under the assumption that black boxes only contained data from crashes and/or sudden deceleration instances. If that is true then I don't see how these boxes would contain any relevant data except in cases where the vehicle was involved in an accident.

By Siki on 3/30/2010 6:46:10 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, the car goes: "Holy shit! We're gonna crash!" then starts recording data.

Turn off the ignition?
By GullLars on 3/30/2010 1:48:23 PM , Rating: 2
One thing i don't quite understand is why the people driving toyotas didn't just turn off the ignition when the car started accelerating or the brakes didn't work.
If you turn off the ignition and then use the gears and the clutch to break, you can easily stop in a quarter mile even at 60mph. You could even just step on the clutch and let the engine rev untill you come to a halt. Worst case scenario you slam it in reverse and tear open your gear box and grind to a halt on stiff wheels.

Maybe it's got something to do with me being european allowing theese obvious sollutions come to mind, but HOW FREAKING HARD IS IT to turn the key in the ignition when the car won't stop???

And for those of you who go "yeah, but you wouldn't think of that while panicking", yes i would, and i have already done. Although it was on my motorbike, my accelerator got stuck at max when i drove past a car on a country road, and my immediate response was, turning the key to off, clutching, and breaking. I did it in less than 3 seconds after i realized the accelerator was stuck.

If those things hadn't worked (wich whould happen when???) i would have shifted down and rolled to a halt with the clutch in, or if the clutch didn't work, dry-shift down to first gear and then to free.

RE: Turn off the ignition?
By porkpie on 3/30/2010 1:52:46 PM , Rating: 2
"Maybe it's got something to do with me being european allowing theese obvious sollutions come to mind"

It's also interesting to note that the Toyota's being sold in Europe and Asia aren't experiencing this rash of SUA problems. Yet more proof we're seeing nothing but a media-generated case of mass delusion.

To recall a similar case from the 1950s:
The Seattle Windshield Pitting Epidemic is a phenomenon which affected Bellingham, Seattle, USA, and other Washington communities in April, 1954; it is considered an example of a mass delusion.

It was characterized by widespread observation of previously unnoticed windshield holes, pits and dings, leading residents to believe that a common causative agent was at work. It was originally thought to be the work of vandals but the rate of pitting was so great that residents began to attribute it to everything from sand flea eggs to nuclear bomb testing....

RE: Turn off the ignition?
By Hoser McMoose on 3/30/2010 9:06:03 PM , Rating: 2
It's also interesting to note that the Toyota's being sold in Europe and Asia aren't experiencing this rash of SUA problems.

The Toyota's sold in Europe (and elsewhere) would, in all probability, use very similar if not identical electronics. However the actual gas pedals themselves where limited ONLY to vehicles produced in North America and almost exclusively for sale here. Most Toyota's sold outside of North America were also built outside North America and had a different supplier (with a different design) for the gas pedal.

This does tend to support Toyota's claim that the problem really and truly WAS related to the gas pedal and floor mats.

RE: Turn off the ignition?
By Wulf145 on 3/31/2010 12:37:23 AM , Rating: 2
One thing which strikes me as odd, is that this independent acceleration phenomenon is virtualy unknown outside of N. America.
I doubt that the Cars driven in N. America are all so different to those in the rest of the world that this could only occur there. Maybe the poster who put it down to "can't blame the driver" is right.

RE: Turn off the ignition?
By gsellis on 3/31/2010 8:48:44 AM , Rating: 2
Could the difference be OBD-II?

RE: Turn off the ignition?
By rvd2008 on 3/30/2010 4:41:41 PM , Rating: 3
Since when euro-brain has become so limited?
1. There could be no clutch (surprise-surprise)
2. There could be no ignition key
3. Joe average is not a jet pilot and was not trained like one.
4. In stressful condition adrenaline is so high, that Joe may forget his own name (see #3)
5. Joe average has ZERO knowledge about how car operates.
6. Joe average drives a LOT.

Got that, Europe?

RE: Turn off the ignition?
By rvd2008 on 3/30/2010 4:55:57 PM , Rating: 2
Quick questions: can you tell me what happens with steering wheel if you turn off ignition? Will it lock steering? Are you 100% sure? Have you tried this before? What about Camry'10 vs Passat'01 vs Accord'08 ...? Does it matter if your car has anti-theft device or not? Do you know if your car has it?

Now imagine you are in a runaway car on a twisty highway approaching 170 km/h and repeating just one thing "I do not want to die!"

RE: Turn off the ignition?
By porkpie on 3/30/2010 7:02:02 PM , Rating: 2
"can you tell me what happens with steering wheel if you turn off ignition? Will it lock steering?"

No. And the 911 operator in question told the man it wouldn't either.

RE: Turn off the ignition?
By Hoser McMoose on 3/30/2010 9:13:30 PM , Rating: 2
Quick questions: can you tell me what happens with steering wheel if you turn off ignition? Will it lock steering?

Nope. Not in any of the Toyota's affected or in any vehicle I'm aware of.

What WILL happen is that you'll lose your power assist, which will make the vehicle rather difficult to turn once your speed is down below about 40km/h. However at higher speeds driving without power assist isn't that tough on pretty much any modern passenger car.

That being said, the BEST solution is to switch the car into neutral, turn on your 4-way flashers and slow pull off to the side and then turn off your engine.

Really it's NOT that complicated, this sort of thing is taught to every 16 year old taking Driver's Ed. Honestly anyone who can't remain sufficiently calm so as to handle this situation and/or who doesn't know how to switch their car into neutral *REALLY* shouldn't be on the road. If you can't take care of such a simple problem while driving then you'll be in terrible shape if a really tricky emergency avoidance situation comes up.

RE: Turn off the ignition?
By Pryde on 3/31/2010 2:58:43 AM , Rating: 2
Power Steering is driven off the crank.

If you put the vehicle in neutral the engine is still reving and and the vehicle would still have power steering.

If you shut the engine off and leave the vehicle IN GEAR your engine will still be rotating and only at low speed/revs you would lose power steering.

If you put your vehicle in neutral and then shut off the engine @ 170mph ... still able to steer but is very difficult ( often worse than non power assisted vehicle )

RE: Turn off the ignition?
By GTVic on 3/31/2010 4:53:01 AM , Rating: 2
On many newer vehicles the power steering is driven by an electric motor as opposed to being directly connected to the engine. Mazda cars use this system now. Either way the power steering still works.

RE: Turn off the ignition?
By MrFord on 3/30/2010 4:55:06 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you on the basis, and I understand it sounds like the logical thing to do. I would do the same if something like that would happen to me. Well it did in fact, but it was more of a Idle Air Control problem that happened to hold the throttle just enough that I could maintain 65 mph heh.

Well 2 things: Lots of new cars comes with those fancy-yet-useless push-start ignition. And if we sill can't get people to remember you have to hold it down 5 seconds to turn off your computer when it crashed, my hopes are pretty low that they would understand the same applies to this.

Also, even with a regular ignition keys, 2 things can happen:
-If you're knowledgeable enough, you'll back the key to ACC or OFF then back to ON immediately. You will lose power steering and brakes, and if you're careful, you can easily bring the car to a halt. But don't pump the brakes and run out of vacuum... emergency brake do work, but it's nowhere as powerful.
-Most people would, in a panic or out of habit, turn the ignition OFF and leave it there. Then your steering wheel is locked, and at that point, power steering or not, you better be able to stop right away.

Neutral is the most obvious and safe solution, yet how many people knows what neutral is, and what it does? You have reports of people fearing to put the car in neutral "because it may flip"... Proof that for the vast majority of people, they know Park, Drive and how many cup holders they have...

RE: Turn off the ignition?
By Hoser McMoose on 3/30/2010 9:23:44 PM , Rating: 2
Then your steering wheel is locked, and at that point, power steering or not, you better be able to stop right away.

That only happens if you switch an automatic transmission into Park, not simply turning off the engine.

In fact in almost all current cars you CAN'T turn the ignition completely off unless you've shifted into Park and you can't do that while the engine is reving. So to run into the situation your suggesting you would have to turn the ignition 'Off' to turn off the engine but leave accessories on, then shift the car into Park while it was still moving (which will likely either fail or cause you to horribly mess up your transmission), then turn everything completely off to lock the steering.

Unfortunately you're last point is accurate, lots of people on the road just don't know what their doing! I can understand if, in a panic, they forget things for a few seconds, but really this is something that EVERY driver should be able to sort out within about 10 seconds. The people who spent several minutes talking to a police car or a 9-11 operate just were NOT competent drivers and probably should not be on the road.

RE: Turn off the ignition?
By Kurz on 3/31/2010 10:50:14 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly unless the Car is in park I can't pull out the key.
(I do this all time since I am in Neutral usually when I stop.)

I am going to teach my siblings these little safety features.

Over Kill
By mlmiller1 on 3/30/10, Rating: 0
RE: Over Kill
By Motoman on 3/30/2010 11:42:06 AM , Rating: 3
Congratulations on your ability to comment on an article that you haven't read.

I suspect that you are unable to make basic differentiations between different types of items. Strangely, you seem to be able to tell the difference between your keyboard and, say, coffee cake - or else you wouldn't be able to post.

For the record, a floor mat is not an electrical device at all - let alone a drive-by-wire computer meant to translate the driver's mechanical actions with analog controls into digital instructions telling brakes, fuel injectors, etc. what to do.

...hope that helps.

RE: Over Kill
By rvd2008 on 3/30/10, Rating: 0
RE: Over Kill
By Scabies on 3/30/2010 12:18:04 PM , Rating: 3
I have to side with miller here. America(n companies) really seem to be grasping at straws to find something horribly wrong about Toyota vehicles. Lucky that domestic vehicles are generally flawless and 100% reliable *sarcasm*
and sell better *more sarcasm*

coming up: Toyota assessed an "extra-terrestrial interference tax" for the hell of it.

RE: Over Kill
By rvd2008 on 3/30/2010 12:49:43 PM , Rating: 1
America(n companies) really seem to be grasping at straws to find something horribly wrong about Toyota vehicles

While I agree Toyota lynching is probably a factor here I doubt American car makers have a hand in it. Simply because it may backfire dearly at them, so they keep their mouth shut.

On the other hand, IMHO there are plenty of legitimate reasons to investigate Toyota. I also think Toyota tried to cover it up and that should be investigated as well.

RE: Over Kill
By TerranMagistrate on 3/30/2010 5:00:13 PM , Rating: 2
While I agree Toyota lynching is probably a factor here I doubt American car makers have a hand in it.

Here's a bit of news for you: General Motors is primarily owned by the U.S. government.

RE: Over Kill
By sjlee33 on 3/30/2010 12:31:36 PM , Rating: 2
Seems to me that automakers other than Toyota are affected. It just happens that Toyota has a lot more press (I'm sure there are a lot of reasons for that benign or not). That said, it seems like any car with electronic throttle systems are potentially at risk so why not ask some NASA engineers to look at the problem? I'm sure they have a lot of expertise in troubleshooting electronics and I'm guessing there are more than a few looking for a job with the shuttle shutting down.

RE: Over Kill
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 3/30/2010 1:08:37 PM , Rating: 2
It details basic information about throttle position, speed, brake position, yaw, roll, etc moments prior to collision - since it only keeps track of a minutes worth of data at a time on a loop, and data is deleted off the back of the loop.

Basically, it is in the nature of do you have a reasonable expectation of privacy (RXP) in that data? If you do, then the government can't sieze it without a warrant. But if they have one, they can sieze it. So it prevents you from contradicting the information in the data when you say you were only going 25 mph in the school zone and had locked up your brakes when you creamed those kids, when the data says you were doing 80 and never touched the brakes till you hit the tree. That sort of thing. In this case, even though you have an RXP in the data, the state can still get a warrant if it can articulate probable cause (your car is totalled against the tree and you were the only vehicle involved), in which case, you lose unless you can make an argument that the data was improperly gathered, interpreted or stored. This data is also salient if you blame the car manufacturer for faulty brakes.

In other words, it is harder to lie when you screw up.

RE: Over Kill
By porkpie on 3/30/2010 1:22:06 PM , Rating: 2
Yaw and roll? It's not an airliner black box. A car's event data recorder captures speed, brake and throttle position, seat belt and airbag status, etc...but it does't include a three-axis accelerometer.

No issues in AUS?
By croc on 3/30/2010 7:40:18 PM , Rating: 2
Toyota is very popular 'down under', and to my knowledge there have been no instances of these issues. Is there a dataset somewhere that shows instances of these issues by country? (I am sure that Toyota has one, but doubt that they'd share...)

You see, I'd wonder if most of these issues were in the US just what the differences were...

RE: No issues in AUS?
By GTVic on 3/31/2010 5:01:16 AM , Rating: 1
I think in the US a lot of people were probably trying to reach 88 mph in order to retroactively stop themselves from voting for George Bush or signing up for a variable rate sub-prime mortgage.

RE: No issues in AUS?
By GTVic on 3/31/2010 5:03:25 AM , Rating: 2
... and when their plan failed they were too embarrassed to own up to the real reason for their "unintended acceleration".

safety third
By invidious on 3/31/2010 10:51:03 AM , Rating: 2
It is pathetic that the auto industry has not been able to handle this internally.

I don't care what the technical problem is, the real problem is the they don't what the technical problem is. How does such a car get certified? How does it not get recalled immediately? Shame all around.

RE: safety third
By Dorkyman on 3/31/2010 12:32:00 PM , Rating: 2
You've unwittingly hit the nail on the head. There is NOTHING WRONG with the car. We are witnessing a mass psychosis, the kind of thing that happens from time to time. People have an irrational fear, that fear feeds others, and so on. Positive feedback at work.

The Audi "runaway acceleration" several decades ago was one example.

The irrational fear of nuclear power in this country is another.

By cruisin3style on 3/30/2010 9:18:33 PM , Rating: 2
Since 2000, a total of 3,000 complaints including 51 deaths have been linked to Toyota vehicles that failed to stop accelerating. Toyota maintains that EMI and electronics are not the cause of the issue and that trapped or malfunctioning brains of executives failed to fix the problem before 10 years and 51 deaths had come to pass.

I mean, come on...

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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