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Re: [vox] No electronic flaws in Toyotas?
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Re: [vox] No electronic flaws in Toyotas?

On Tue, 8 Feb 2011, Bill Broadley wrote:

> Has anyone found a positive result?
> Is it too much to expect that people hit the brakes if they are going faster
> than they intend?  Or shift to neutral?  Or hit the emergency brake? Turn the
> car off? Or do you think it's a 5 way failure?
> Is there any reason to not think that it's just idiots that hit the wrong
> pedal?   Just like happened with Audi, in the 1980s or so? (and the dozens of
> other companies investigated) Seems like some small percentage of people just
> freak when they get a surprise because they hit the wrong pedal, and of course
> in today's litigious society they blame the car maker.

The one case that gives me pause on calling this purely and completely 
driver error was the case in Southern California where the driver was a 
trained officer (I forget if he was CHP or local law enforcement). Now, 
there was extenuating circumstances there in that the officer did not know 
that particular car since it was a loaner, so he may not have known that 
the keyless ignition button needed to be held for 3 seconds to cut the 
engine. But I think we can be pretty sure he was not stepping on the wrong 
pedal (particularly since witnesses saw the brakes flame out) and he would 
have known how to unstick the gas pedal from a floor mat (the attributed 
cause of the accident) given his law enforcement training.

At the very least, the Toyotas should have come with brake override 
technology (which I hear is now going to be standard in these "drive by 
wire" cars) to kill the throttle when the brakes are engaged. That is 
something you can do when you switch to a drive by wire system which you 
can't do with a mechanical system. Too late for the cars already on the 
road, but at least this incident is getting that safety feature put into 
future models.

Melissa D.
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