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Print 54 comment(s) - last by lyeoh.. on Mar 31 at 12:50 PM

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: 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
quote:
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.


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