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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. 
Detnews.com 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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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.


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