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Old 11-20-2009, 04:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
wdb
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The Crash that Caused the Toyota Recall

As most of you probably already know, Toyota is issuing a massive recall of 3.8 million vehicles due to the possibility of floor mats causing the throttle pedal to stick, resulting in unintended acceleration. There have been multiple incidents, plus an earlier recall, but a fatal accident in CA in which 4 people were killed seems to have driven Toyota to take stronger measures.

NHTSA Releases Additional Details on Accident that Prompted Toyota Floor Mat Recall - Lexus Reports

What I find interesting -- and frightening -- is that a combination of factors may have led to the fatal crash:
  • stuck accelerator
  • gated automatic shift lever
  • pushbutton ignition switch
The driver was an off-duty police officer, so ability to react under stressful situations should have been good; indeed, he called 911 while driving the vehicle. Also, driving skills would have to be assumed to be higher than the norm, because officers receive special training in high speed handling and evasive maneuvers. What investigators are looking into is if the combination of factors was too much for even a competent, non-panicking driver to overcome.

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Old 11-20-2009, 04:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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cars are bad.
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WINDMILLS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!!!
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:07 PM   #3 (permalink)
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wdb -

Huh. I wondered why nobody just turned the key off. Pushbutton ignition was unfamiliar to the driver.

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Last edited by cfg83; 11-20-2009 at 05:18 PM..
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Make the switch push-off/pull-on just like the emergency disconnects in industrial equipment. Then the instinctive response to an out of control car would be to punch the red button, which would disconnect all power. It would also be the normal power switch so it would be less likely to silently fail closed.
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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On my TDI, when you press the brake pedal, it disables the go pedal signal. You can't do heel and toe, but it's safer for the average joe.

The only thing I'm concerned about is a runaway caused by a sticking throttle in the cold on my Elantra or a blown turbo seal in my TDI. Even then I'm prepared to stick it in 5th and jump on the brake ASAP.

But anyway, I wonder why all cars don't automatically send the TPS to 0 when both pedals are pressed.
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I've seen plenty of cops that can hardly drive, that don't signal, speed, swerve all over, tailgate for no reason, run stop signs, slide around on winter roads in to the ditch, but at least he had plenty of practice talking on his phone while driving!
Not knowing how to drive, or how to shift in to neutral is an issue among most of the population.
Floor mats that ride up are an issue for all cars, I kind of like the tabs that stick up from the floor at the back of the floor mat that keep it in place... $1 fix.
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Both my cars have hooks fused to the floor's carpet to prevent the mat from sliding up. Why isn't this standard on every car?
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Old 11-20-2009, 07:03 PM   #8 (permalink)
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needs a kill switch on the shifter
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Old 11-20-2009, 07:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Ryland -

My floor mat rides up, so I punched a hole in the end closest to the seat and zip-tied it to a part of the metal "infrastructure" under my seat.

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Old 11-20-2009, 08:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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This is why ALL gas pedals should be hinged at the bottom, not the top.
DUH

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