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Driver error cited as cause of fatal crashes in 74 of 75 cases

Toyota, once lavished with praise for its reputation for quality and reliability, took more than a few blows to the chin earlier this year due to concerns of sudden acceleration. The company began recalling many of its popular models – including the Camry, Tundra, Corolla, Highlander, and RAV4 – to replace “sticky” gas pedals.

However, after examining data from 75 fatal crashes which were blamed on “sudden acceleration” due to faulty electronics, the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has come to the conclusion that only one incident was not related to driver error. The incident in question is the high profile crash involving a CHP officer driving a 2009 Lexus ES 350. The vehicle accelerated uncontrollably due to improperly installed floor mats which trapped the accelerator pedal. The crash resulted in the death of four people including the officer.

The NHTSA concluded that the other 74 crashes were a result of driver error -- specifically, drivers were mistaking the accelerator pedal for the brake pedal, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"In spite of our investigations, we have not actually been able yet to find a defect" with Toyota's electronic throttle control said NHTSA associate administrator for enforcement, Daniel Smith.

"We're bound and determined that if it exists we're going to find it. But as yet, we haven't found it."

The NHTSA hasn't completely cleared Toyota, however. The agency still notes that improperly designed floor mats and sticky accelerators that were slow to return to the idle were to blame for some crashes. Toyota itself acknowledged these finding back in January. However, phantom electronic gremlins causing Toyota vehicles to suddenly lose their minds appears to have been tossed out of the equation.

The sudden acceleration drama resulted in the U.S. Department of Transportation fining Toyota $16.4 million for deceiving officials about the widespread nature of stick accelerator pedals. There are also over 100 pending lawsuits against Toyota regarding sudden acceleration.

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RE: What I don't get is...
By The0ne on 7/13/2010 6:52:09 PM , Rating: 3
You guys are asking too much of these drivers. If they can't tell the difference between the accelerator and brake then they are far gone in their head. If they can't figure out how to clear the carpet jamming their accelerator, you know like pulling it back with you heel, then they are far gone.

Asking anymore of these type of drivers is near impossible. Seriously, you may cause more problems than trying to resolve. You ask them to put the car in neutral and soon enough you'll have all them in reverse or L1/L2. Don't ask me how, but they will get it there. Just leave these type of people alone and stay FAR away!

RE: What I don't get is...
By wolrah on 7/13/2010 8:46:01 PM , Rating: 2
Asking anymore of these type of drivers is near impossible. Seriously, you may cause more problems than trying to resolve. You ask them to put the car in neutral and soon enough you'll have all them in reverse or L1/L2. Don't ask me how, but they will get it there. Just leave these type of people alone and stay FAR away!

The problem is these are the kind of idiots we have to share the road with. Unfortunately this country sees driving as a right rather than a privilege (really, after I took the driving test when I was 16 my first thought was "anyone who failed this should never be allowed to operate a motorized item of any kind again forever" since it was so retardedly easy.

Computers can't yet drive competently on regular roads (no offense meant to the DARPA GC teams and such but I mean driving on I-71 in rush hour, not closed courses with semi-controlled obstacles), but they could sure pass an Ohio driving test. From what I've heard, the rest of the US is not much different.

Our driver's licensing is like an A+ certification or the "Technician" class amateur radio license; if you have a pulse and a remote interest in the topic you can pass without a question.

In my perfect world, we'd still have a basic license class along these lines since our geographical distribution of people and lack of a usable mass transit system in most areas pretty much requires that most adults be able to drive, but that basic class would not be allowed to drive anything larger than a compact sedan to minimize the damage they can cause.

Next step up would allow all cars and unibody trucks/SUVs below 5000 or so lbs as well as trailers up to the length and weight of the vehicle. This would be what most people would likely have and would require that one pass a proper training course along the lines of the "Teen Driving School" program BMW offers which covers panic stops, emergency maneuvers, etc. and lets the driver experience and get used to how their vehicle will react when pushed to its limit.

The third level would open up the vehicle options to almost everything on the road. Anything with six or less wheels and weighing under 12,000 lbs would be fair game, as well as any trailers compatible with a Class IV ball hitch. Hydraulic brakes only though.

I'm not sure whether the last class before CDL should be a class in itself or an endorsement on the third, but this would be where the largest vehicles on the road not requiring a CDL would be stuck. RVs with air brakes or tag axles, gooseneck/5th wheel trailers, etc.

Lest you think I'm just wanting to regulate others, I myself occasionally drive a 38 foot RV weighing in at over 28,000 lbs loaded with a Caterpillar diesel and an air brake system. The thing is huge, air brakes respond much differently than hydraulics, and it'll plow through anything if you're not careful, yet I'm allowed to drive it on the same license I got from a 10 minute written test and 15 minutes of practical examination in a Buick Regal when I was 16.

In my eyes that is wrong and needs to be solved. There are actually a number of RV-specific exemptions to CDL requirements, since any non-RV vehicle weighing this much or equipped with air brakes would have required a CDL to legally operate. You can thank the AARP for that from my understanding, since a lot of the RVers with the money for these big rigs are seniors.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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