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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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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?

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