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Drivers Blamed For Out of Control Toyotas - Again

Roblimo posted more than 3 years ago | from the Which-pedal-did-you-say-was-the-brake? dept.

Transportation 482

PolygamousRanchKid writes "An intensive 10 month investigation into possible causes of unintended acceleration in Toyota cars found no fault with the automaker's electronic throttle control systems, the Department of Transportation announced Tuesday." Didn't the NHTSA say essentially the same thing last July?

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Is this a rhetorical post? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144418)

Is this a rhetorical post comment?

Just to clarify.. (4, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144426)

Drivers Blamed For Out of Control Toyotas - Again

Since none of you actually RTFA's, I thought I'd do my good deed for the day and point out that they mean the people behind the wheel are the problem, not the gas pedal drivers.

Re:Just to clarify.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144494)

Mod parent funny.

PEBWAC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144524)

Problem Exists Between Wheel And Chair.

Hey Woz... didn't you have one of those Toyotas [slashdot.org] ?

Re:PEBWAC (3, Informative)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144650)

Woz was talking about a different problem, something that affected the cruise control's control loop behavior at wide-open throttle. IMHO he was experiencing a corner case that had nothing to do with the sensationalized incidents.

The fact that so many of the drivers who experienced this particular "malfunction" were over age 60 tells you all you need to know.

Re:Just to clarify.. (5, Funny)

Gohtar (1829140) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144538)

Windows has detected a Gas Pedal compliant device and is attempting to find the drivers for it. Windows could not find drivers for your device, the device may not function properly until the drivers are installed.

Re:Just to clarify.. (5, Funny)

angelwolf71885 (1181671) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144918)

WARNING: the device " Gas Pedal " has performed a fatal operation

Re:Just to clarify.. (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144750)

Since none of you actually RTFA's,

TFA

NHTSA also said it plans to propose requirements for standardized operation of push-button keyless ignition systems in cars and to require the installation of Event Data Recorders, devices that record various data including gas pedal and brake usage immediately before and after a major crash.

(WTF?) I think the black-boxes on the planes can benefit as well from being able to record various data after a major crash.

Re:Just to clarify.. (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144772)

Well, recording efforts of some driver to, say, drive away after a major crash could be...revealing.

Re:Just to clarify.. (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144866)

They probably want to record it in a ring buffer.

You have memory for x seconds of data, and you fill it up from the car starting up. When its full you loop around and overwrite the earliest data.
When there is a crash, logging stops and it all gets dumped to permanent storage.

Re:Just to clarify.. (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144942)

When there is a crash, logging stops and it all gets dumped to permanent storage.

And the rest of the data after the major crash is captured by the extra added layer of "Telepathy Controlled Protocol" - good that we are forced now to tap into IPv6 address space.

Re:Just to clarify.. (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144914)

They already do.

Re:Just to clarify.. (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144980)

They already do.

Yeap: collecting the pitch/roll/yawn as well as the engines RPM's and level of fuel-tanks... of the wreckage after the major crash. Does make sense and is achievable by... what method?

Re:Just to clarify.. (2, Interesting)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144888)

Since one of the people behind the wheel was Steve Wozniak (previous slashdot story hyperlinked here [slashdot.org] ), and he said he'd actually been able to replicate unchecked acceleration by the cruise-control system, I'm not trusting Toyota.

They have a vested interest in not finding a cause. He could not have any possible interest in making a claim of observing a misbehavior in a car he likes to drive.

Nor should anyone at Toyota trust Toyota.

Nor would I trust the government. They're not likely to be bringing A+ talent to the party.

Mostly true, but slightly spun summary. (4, Informative)

ustolemyname (1301665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144438)

What they also confirmed was that mechanical issues were a factor. Just because there is no fault with the electronics doesn't mean the machines were perfectly fine.

So far there are three known causes of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles: improperly installed floor mats, sticky pedals, and driver error.

That's the second paragraph of TFA. What, submitters don't RTFA anymore?

Re:Mostly true, but slightly spun summary. (3, Interesting)

treeves (963993) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144476)

That does not conflict with the summary or the /. headline. "Driver error" is included in the list, and the submitter did not say that was the ONLY cause.

Re:Mostly true, but slightly spun summary. (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144782)

I just have to wonder that if it IS indeed driver error, why so many more incidents with this make?
Could it be driver error that is made more likely as a result of a design issue in the car? Pedals too close together, feel too similar, some shit like that?

Could this be a user interface issue in the oldest sense of the term?

Re:Mostly true, but slightly spun summary. (5, Insightful)

arcsimm (1084173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144578)

The summary is reasonably accurate: the NHTSA noted that while those are known problems, the "vast majority" of reports were most probably caused by driver error. NASA even noted that the frequency of reports was most directly correlated to the amount of media attention the issue had received, and not at all with design changes.

In short, this was the Audi 5000 all over again, and people need to learn how to drive instead of blaming their mistakes on their cars.

Re:Mostly true, but slightly spun summary. (1)

Labcoat Samurai (1517479) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144764)

In short, this was the Audi 5000 all over again, and people need to learn how to drive instead of blaming their mistakes on their cars.

Wow that takes me back. My grandpa had that car and I remember talking to him about it at the time.

Re:Mostly true, but slightly spun summary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144656)

Its called Toyota went for fly by wire. There was non of this when the throttle body was an actual link to the accelerator. If you do not do proper control system design you do not get an F-16, you get a fly away Toyota. Cars can get away with such because the link between the throttle body and the accelerator has always been physical until a few years back. There have been numerous complaints, recordings and evidence. What you get a blue screen the problem is between the keyboard and the chair, well in a sort for getting windows, so yes in a sort those people are responsible for buying a toyota. Its called instability points in the root locust.

Re:Mostly true, but slightly spun summary. (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144716)

No, this is a simple user error. Besides mechanical linkages get stuck all the time. I used to have a 1987 corolla that had that problem in its old age. As I am not incompetent I was able to unstick it by popping the gas. If I could not have unstuck it I would have put the clutch in or shifted to neutral.

Re:Mostly true, but slightly spun summary. (3, Insightful)

MasaMuneCyrus (779918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144818)

Your entire point is moot because
1.) In a drive-by-wire system the brake always takes priority over the accelerator and there is at least double, if not triple redundancy in anything that could ever possibly fail. In the even more unlikely scenario of all redundancies failing, all drive-by-wire systems I'm away of cut the engine. In addition, brakes are never brake-by-wire, and the handbrake works, too.
2.) Toyota's drive-by-wire system didn't fail even once.
3.) The chance of every piece of a drive by wire failing in such a way as to cause your car to accelerate uncontrollably is probably similar to your chance of being struck down by a falling meteorite. In the unusual even that it does happen, you can shift your car into neutral to stop.

Re:Mostly true, but slightly spun summary. (1)

Random Destruction (866027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145010)

In the unusual even that it does happen, you can shift your car into neutral to stop.

Or firmly apply the brakes. These are toyotas after all, not 800hp supercharged corvettes*.

Re:Mostly true, but slightly spun summary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144874)

And the first two causes were ones that had been fixed in earlier recalls. If you (driver of recalled car) didn't go in and get the free fix, then had your car run away on you because of that unfixed issue, it was definitely a driver error.

But, of course, rationality still doesn't prevail. I saw one Toyota driver's comments about it saying that while she was in a "panic trying to stop her runaway Lexus," she still had the presence of mind to carefully note that she had checked and she was "not" accidentally pushing on the accelerator pedal.

Rationalization wins again!

Re:Mostly true, but slightly spun summary. (2)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144876)

So far there are three known causes of unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles: improperly installed floor mats, sticky pedals, and driver error.

"But I repeat myself." (With apologies to Mark Twain).

Just because there is no fault with the electronics doesn't mean the machines were perfectly fine.

True, but just because the machines weren't perfectly fine doesn't mean it's not the driver's (or owner's) fault. Essentially these are all issues that the operator is responsible for, *especially* ensuring proper operation of the controls before taking the vehicle out on the road. Even in the (thus far) fictional scenario where an electronic malfunction sends the vehicle into WOT, if you don't know how to mitigate that by shifting into neutral and/or turning off the engine then you've directly contributed to the end result. Yeah, sometimes people panic and do the wrong thing, but that's still the individual's fault.

Re:Mostly true, but slightly spun summary. (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144908)

Yes, but the fact that two separate studies (haven't RTFA) arrived at the SAME conclusion CLEARLY shows that they are just covering over the real problem. I mean, what else could explain them coming to the same conclusion?

Heard this before a few times (3, Insightful)

rasper99 (247555) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144448)

Same result starting with Audi 25 years ago and many more since then.

PEBSWAC (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144458)

Problem Exists Between Steering Wheel And Chair

Re:PEBSWAC (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144542)

so, more evidence supporting the popular conclusion that people are just looking for someone to blame for their panic-stomp-on-gas-instead-of-brake reaction.

Either trying to avoid the insurance deductible, or the embarrassment of public knowledge of your bad driving I suppose.

Re:PEBSWAC (3, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145072)

You know normally I would agree.

However, I remember the case of Koua Fong Lee who ended up in prison. I sincerely have a hard time believing that somebody with no history of mental problems, in a car with relatives, in a car with his wife and unborn child, would accelerate down an offramp into another car... on the way home from church.

In order to believe that Toyota has no defects I would have to believe this man just lost it and started screaming "no brakes! no brakes!" to his family while plowing into another car at 70-90mph. He also purportedly had plenty of time to stop starting at the beginning of the offramp, so it would have been a very prolonged panic-stomp-on-gas-instead-of-brake reaction. Which is strange, because if I recall correctly one of the reasons he ended up in prison was the very lack of tire tracks showing that he did brake which the prosecution used to show intent, not manufacturing defects in the car *because the onboard computer could not be wrong*.

So I still don't know about this and I have a vested interest in it not being true since I love Toyota. Had a Prius and hybrid Highlander. I want to get another one, but this situation still gives me pause.

Re:PEBSWAC (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144708)

I prefer the definition of a drunk driver
"The nut behind the wheel was too tight"

Re:PEBSWAC (2)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144762)

So do we conclude pure user error or should we be considering a user interface design fault as well?

Good design should aim to reduce avoidable user error.

Re:PEBSWAC (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144926)

We can start by requiring alcohol manufacturers to make their bottles and cans an unusual shape that doesn't fit in any car's cup holders.

Re:PEBSWAC (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144934)

If you cannot handle your car getting the throttle stuck wide open you should not be driving.

Re:PEBSWAC (1)

DudeTheMath (522264) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145008)

Well, sure. When the interface was designed, speeds were low and it was safe enough (and quite easy, with the upright posture that lasted into the '50s and '60s) to look at your foot on the pedal to make sure you were using the right one.

Unfortunately, we're dealing with a century of backwards-compatibility issues. Throttle and brake pedals lie next to each other, and even though drivers can no longer easily see them, unless you can convince an entire industry to adopt your obviously superior user interface, there they will remain.

I can think of one alternative interface right off the bat, similar to the personal watercraft: pulling the steering wheel towards you accelerates, pushing it away brakes (and releasing it returns it to the closed, "braking," position). In a panic, I'd expect humans to naturally brace themselves, pushing the wheel away, or cover their heads, releasing it.

The best interface, of course, is the one where I tell the car where I want to go and then work, read, sleep, etc. until the GPS says, "You have reached your destination."

Re:PEBSWAC (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145028)

This would result in braking in tight corners at speed, the last thing you want to be doing. This is because to turn the wheel you will end up pushing it in somewhat.

Toyota's new slogan (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144468)

We are moving forward - even when you don't want to!

Re:Toyota's new slogan (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144658)

We are moving forward - even when you don't want to!

We are moving forward - only when you want to.

There, fixed that for you...

wait what? (1, Flamebait)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144480)

If it was American drivers faults, why then did we not see a rash of similar accidents with other manufacturers vehicles?

Re:wait what? (3, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144490)

It can be all kinds of things, the design of the pedal or which brand of idiots by what car. What I do bet is that this does not happening in stick shift vehicles. I suggest banning slushboxes as a solution.

Re:wait what? (1)

pjbgravely (751384) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144928)

I was just thinking about that. Has anyone heard of a standard shift vehicle having sudden acceleration?

If it is driver error, could it be that people that drive automatics tend not to be the best drivers?

I do realize that people living in citys would go crazy driving a stick shift.

Re:wait what? (2, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144952)

I live in a city, I do fine. Most Europeans live in cities and they all drive standards.

Re:wait what? (1)

Nocuous (1567933) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144948)

Excellent subject line: wait, what?

Please tell me you didn't mean that studly humanoids who have the brains and the ballz to drive a manual transmission automobile are less likely to stomp on the wrong pedal. In my experience, they poll a little lower on the intelligence scale.

I love shifting on my bikes (Triumph's and Honda's), but they're toys, riding them is for fun. Automatic transmissions for cars is sensible, since the main objective is to get where you're going safely, not engage in some ritual of manhood comparison. Calling them slushboxes is on par with posts against Windoze, or M$.

Re:wait what? (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145006)

A standard transmission driver would have just pressed the brake and clutch at the same time. This means even if he was holding down the gas by mistake the car would have slowed down.

Automatics are terrible at getting you where you are going safely. I constantly see people using the brake in bad weather when down-shifting would be far safer. The same with going down steep inclines.

If you cannot put down the cell phone and big mac to shift you are not responsible enough to be operating a motor vehicle.

Re:wait what? (2)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144500)

If I would crash a Toyota because of my own idiocy, I know what I would claim... "Yes, the car accelerated on it's own, just like in the news!"

Re:wait what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144512)

Read the article and find out. kthxbai

Re:wait what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144518)

1) They did not say that drivers were the only cause of faults, just that the electronic control system was not a cause.
2) Some people are attention whores and jumped on the bandwagon and lied about having the problem.

Re:wait what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144520)

Because PolygamousRanchKid (and, presumaby, Roblimo) didn't RTFA. Oops!

Re:wait what? (5, Informative)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144556)

If it was American drivers faults, why then did we not see a rash of similar accidents with other manufacturers vehicles?

If you had R'ed TFA, you would have R'ed this:

"Unintended acceleration is not exclusive to Toyotas," [NHTSA deputy administrator Ron] Medford said, pointing out that two-thirds of the unintended acceleration reports the agency has received in recent years involved vehicles by other automakers.

Re:wait what? (1)

s4ltyd0g (452701) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144676)

Sir,

This is Slashdot. What is this article of which you speak? (-;

So from the Article, (thank you for quoting it) they appear to say that Toyota Vehicles are involved in a full third of all unintended acceleration reports, with the other two thirds spread out amongst all the other manufacturers? That's what the quote seems to imply.

regards

Re:wait what? (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144730)

Which is easily accounted for with them selling a huge percentage of cars sold, and their incompetent 60+ target demographic.

Re:wait what? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145024)

Thereabouts, probably. On the other hand:

1. There was a great deal of publicity and anyone involved in an acceleration-related accident who happened to be driving a Toyota probably tried to blame it on the car instead of themselves.

2. Toyota accounts for a consistent 15% or so of the overall US sales market, and that's AFTER the crisis and drop in their sales figures related to this incident.

In other words, their reporting of a specific problem that they've gotten massively bad press on is "only" double their corresponding sales numbers.

You know, a lot of car manufacturers would give the left testicle of their CEO to only have problem reports double after accusations like this...

I'm not saying their handling of the problem was perfect or that all is fluffy bunnies, but they seem to have done a decent job of investigating the problem, and all the brouhaha seems to have been over mechanical issues (like floor mats, which they recalled and fixed very early on).

I don't own a Toyota (well, technically I guess my Pontiac Vibe sorta qualifies, since it's a Matrix in disguise), but I have several friends who have had Toyotas with issues and Toyota puts a lot of stake in their reputation. One friend had his Tacoma recalled for rust on the frame, and Toyota took his 8-year-old truck and completely rebuilt it around a new frame for him, even fixing some other problems they discovered (new shocks, etc) for free, and gave him a really nice brand-new Lexus for the month it took to do the work. When they were done, they apologized profusely for his inconvenience. He'll be a Toyota driver for life.

Compare that to my repair experiences with Ford on brand-new cars with defects, and it's just no contest.

Re:wait what? (0)

Gohtar (1829140) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144564)

Because that is not how the average american makes his fortune. You got to hop on the bandwagon while the hopping is good, and get your chunk of the media frenzy induced cash flow from the lawsuits.

Because other drivers don't get off scott free (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144592)

If it was American drivers faults, why then did we not read about a rash of similar accidents with other manufacturers vehicles?

Fixed that for you.

We didn't read about this happening with other vehicles because other drivers couldn't get out of trouble by claiming it was the "car that did it" the way Toyota drivers could at the time.

Re:wait what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144758)

If it was American drivers faults, why then did we not see a rash of similar accidents with other manufacturers vehicles?

I realize this is Slashdot, but... seriously. Had you read the article, you'd have seen this:

"Unintended acceleration is not exclusive to Toyotas," Medford said, pointing out that two-thirds of the unintended acceleration reports the agency has received in recent years involved vehicles by other automakers.

So now it's official. (5, Funny)

cvtan (752695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144484)

The cars are not perfect, but they are smarter than the drivers that own them.

Re:So now it's official. (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144936)

My Prius doesn't even know when it's still got a fifth of a tank of gas left.

Fuck Toyota. They're going to kill someone, here.

Re:So now it's official. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144972)

What you mean is the light comes one when gas is still in the tank?

Because that is intentional, they trigger those early now so folks like you would stop burning up fuel pumps. You see, the fuel pump hangs in the tank and is cooled by the fuel, if the fuel gets too low it can heat up and that kills it over time.

This is clearly driver error, even if the car accelerates suddenly. if you cannot handle your car getting the throttle stuck wide open you should not be driving. At the very least any of those folks could have put the car in neutral.

Well then ... (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144516)

...we should be expecting new drivers on patch Tuesday.

But... the Woz (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144526)

Who ya gonna believe, them or Woz?
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503983_162-6169804-503983.html

Re:But... the Woz (1)

Altus (1034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144584)

yea, I guess there is a possibility that Woz is simply lying, but he has never really been an attention whore. Assuming he is describing the steps to reproduce the problem correctly it would seem to contradict these finding. There really isn't a lot of room for error if we believe we can take Woz at his word.

Has anyone else reproduced the problem using the steps that Woz describes? Seems like someone on here must own a Prius and have sufficient brains to give it a shot.

Re:But... the Woz (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144634)

yea, I guess there is a possibility that Woz is simply lying, but he has never really been an attention whore.

Laughable.

Re:But... the Woz (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144694)

When a computer demigod says it is a software glitch that he can reproduce repeatedly and consistently, YOU BETTER LISTEN!

Re:But... the Woz (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144790)

Read the article the guy (kind of) linked to. Woz is talking about a cruise control issue, not a "sticky gas pedal" as others complain about. And hitting the brakes cancels the acceleration. Anyone who is using cruise control should be ready to hit the brakes, and even observing their speed from time to time, or at least be aware that the cars revs are rising and the world is moving by at a faster rate. It's not auto-pilot.

Re:But... the Woz (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144798)

Different problem. Read the Woz's description. His complaint is only about the cruise control.

No surprise really... (2)

Martin Spamer (244245) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144530)

The incompetent are unaware of their level of incompetence and therefore must blame external elements. It called the Dunning Kruger effect [wikipedia.org] .

Re:No surprise really... (2)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144588)

It's got a real name now? Wow, I remember when that was just called the "wearing the juice" study.

Control System Design Flaw, Root locus anyone (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144558)

Well there are those curious bugs in code that one can not account for if your only comp sci. It's a flaw on the design of the control system. Meaning there is an area on the root locus where the control system may lack stability and hey guess what thats no a regular bug so no matter how many people look at the code they will not see the problem. There can also be no problem with cables but it is very obvious that there is a design flaw. High way patrols don't die with their families while they are not driving, what is toyota blaming it on those people. What are they saying they are drinking the kool-aid of recovery, or the housing kool-aid, or maybe the toyota kool-aid. What kind of company blames the user when it is only happening with their vehicles. They blame loyal costumers that are afraid to death, with police recording of these people panicking cause their cars won't stop. Maybe the accelerator control system does not even take into account proper control theory and tara... They been able to get away with it because before when you hit the brake peddle that disengaged the servo that was pulling on the physical linkage between the accelerator and the throttle body. Anyway new toyota's that have throttle body controlled by a servo as opposed to the physical link that most cars have are death traps in my book. Why go fly by wire, its not an F-16 its a run away toyota.

Re:Control System Design Flaw, Root locus anyone (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144600)

Simple answer even highway patrol fucks up. He could have just shifted to neutral.

Everything old is new again (1)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144566)

Re:Everything old is new again (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144712)

What's that? A propendancy of incompetent douchebags who like, use, wear, drive the same item?

The car has "sudden" acceleration when you press the fucking gas pedal. You panic because you're a fucking idiot and thought you pressed the brake pedal. Instead of pulling your foot off the gas and pressing the brake pedal you press harder on the gas because you still think it's the brake pedal. Instead of slamming the car into park or reverse you keep on going down the freeway, parking lot, etc in a panic because you're a fucking moron.

These people all need their licenses revoked and to be issues permanent public transit passes, preferably tattooed on their forehead so they don't lose them.

Re:Everything old is new again (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144836)

Neutral would be just as good and would save your transmission.

A far simpler thing to do is just ban slushboxes.

That's what you get for (2)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144580)

Installing that proprietary crap from the vendor. ... wait, not that kind of driver? Oh.

seems to be the norm (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144628)

dunno if the cars relly did speed out of controle or not. but what i am saying even if it happon the braking force would be grater then the stuck acclerator could provide. that means if they hit there brakes the car would stop. you can also cut the engion. so the drivers blame there lack of skill or driving errors on someone else. seems to be the thing to do these days kill someone blame video games and so on. some chick tried this when she nailed my truck making the same clames. after the pulled the computer from her car they found out the brake where not even pressed. meaning the chick was just a bad driver.

Re:seems to be the norm (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144646)

A far simpler thing to do that will leave the power steering working is to shift into neutral.

No, there HAS to be a problem! (2)

CCTalbert (819490) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144636)

Otherwise you can't have lawsuits and everyone receive lottery-like settlements!

Engineering and science must take a back seat on this one, driver error isn't an interesting enough answer.

Conspiracy theory (1)

sb98052 (857171) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144640)

Need I say more.

Practice shifting into neutral and it's all good (1)

Heretic2 (117767) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144670)

Seriously, you can mitigate this problem.

How does the actual system work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144680)

I'd like to know how many independent sensors they have reading the accelerator pedal position. If they have only one, then its quite possible that a fault with the sensor could cause unintentional acceleration. In a previous report on this, they claimed that the computer data indicated that drivers were pressing the accelerator instead of the brake - however, if there is only one sensor and it glitched, this is EXACTLY what it would indicate.

However, if they had multiple independent systems reading it (the only safe way IMHO), its highly unlikely to have been due to a problem with the drive-by-wire system.

Does anyone have any real information as to how Toyotas drive-by-wire actually works?

Re:How does the actual system work? (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144766)

If your car suddenly accelerates and you cannot shift into neutral or press the brakes to stop it, you are not qualified to operate a motor vehicle.

Re:How does the actual system work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144788)

Given "gas instead of the brake", wouldn't that show that either two sensors have failed (gas and brake pedals), the driver is pressing the gas, or the driver is too stupid to do anything while the car runs away?

Mass hysteria (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144738)

I thought I'd read that there were literally zero reports of this issue outside of the United States.

Possible solutions (0)

currently_awake (1248758) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144774)

Having the vehicle engine drop to idle if you touch the brake should suffice (preferably on a separate circuit). I would suggest making it a law: On all drive by wire control systems you have 3 independent sensor and control computers on gas/brake/steering/shifter with voting. And if one of the three gives a divergent reading the check engine light comes on. If all three give different results you shut down the car.

Re:Possible solutions (1)

Cosgrach (1737088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144954)

Make it the law and penalize drivers who know what they are doing? I use the 'heal and toe' method to maintain slightly better stability whilst driving on twisty roads. But then again, I drive rally cars for fun. I've also made the leap and disconnected the neutral start switch on all my manual transmission cars. Sometimes, just sometimes you really do want the car in gear while cranking it over.

Here is an idea: why not use a cable between the pedal and the throttle body? Wow, now we are cooking with gas.

Re:Possible solutions (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145074)

Cables also get stuck. Used to happen all the time in my old 87 corolla. Was never a real problem I just popped the gas to unstick it, and if I had to I could have held in the clutch or shifted to neutral.

There IS a problem with the cars (3, Interesting)

Lucky75 (1265142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144800)

Just because they "found no problem" (publicly) with the cars, doesn't mean that there isn't one. I've experienced one of these things accelerating personally (multiple times, actually) and I can tell you that there IS something wrong with the cars. I didn't crash into anything, so I don't really have any reason to lie, Don't believe these "findings".

Re:There IS a problem with the cars (1)

navyjeff (900138) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144854)

What was the nature of your experience with the car accelerating? Did it repeat it under similar or common set of circumstances? Did you find a cause for the unintended acceleration? Not trolling, just curious.

Re:There IS a problem with the cars (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145002)

Did you know that if either the lower O2 sensor, or the EGR valve are bad/failing/etc, that you'll get acceleration without doing anything? It's because the engine revs higher, in order to compensate for a bad fuel mixture.

Re:There IS a problem with the cars (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144896)

Ok so we should believe you over the actual experts?

How is this for a little thought experiment;
Odds that their is some conspiracy to cover this up, vs the known fact that none of these drivers were capable enough to simply put the vehicle in neutral and might have been poor enough drivers to be actually standing on the gas and thought it the brake.

Re:There IS a problem with the cars (2)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145064)

Ditto, I had a similar occurrence with my Prius. It's actually an older model. I suspect a glitch in the cruise control.

In my situation I hit the break, and slowed the car. But then it accelerated when I released the brake. The engine rev'd up. It did so the same way cruise control does if you've got a heavy load and hit a hill.

That's the trouble with Toyota (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144824)

Their hardware is good, but their drivers suck.

the Mythbusters need to test Toyota's! (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144886)

the Mythbusters need to test Toyota's!

Re:the Mythbusters need to test Toyota's! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144960)

test Toyota's what? GOOD GOD MAN, don't leave us hanging.

Re:the Mythbusters need to test Toyota's! (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145038)

in all ways with driving and acceleration.

Re:the Mythbusters need to test Toyota's! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35145070)

You're just witnessing the spelling ability of the average Mythbusters fan. The only good news about a Mythbusters Toyota test is that they would blow the car to smithereens at the end.

Well now... (1)

jshuford (1948776) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144940)

The sudden acceleration is very much like how the cruise control acts when it is engaged. Toyota and the U.S. Government overlooked the problem because they didn't see it the right way. Pfft! rocket scientists; what-ever!

Disappointed (2)

maugle (1369813) | more than 3 years ago | (#35144964)

I am very disappointed with these findings...

Back when they thought the car could just flip out and accelerate wildly, a Prius was a man's car! Oh, "I need some groceries, I guess I'll drive to the store in my ticking time bomb death machine!" You just can't get much manlier than that!

Now it's back to being a wussy hippiemobile.
Sigh.

Apparently there's an easy fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144968)

Don't buy Toyota cars. It's amazing how fast they'll find and fix the problem then.

Nuttin honey (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35144992)

Well they didn't say nothing was wrong. They said the "found" nothing wrong.

On the other hand, with all the junk in cars today the qualifications for driving have changed. Years ago you used to have to learn how to drive a vehicle. Today you have to learn how to point it in the direction you'd like to go.

Not buying it.... (2)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145026)

As I had this happen myself. I do not buy the whole "human error".

And there might be a very very easy way to prove or disprove that statement. If it is human error, than the same incident should occur throughout all brands with approx. the same level of occurrence.

If it is happening significantly higher with Toyotas. Then there is clearly a non-human error issue. Simple logic here. But the fact that I had this occur to me once with my Toyota leaves me to suspect Toyota. Thankfully, I did not get into an accident. And within 2-3 seconds I got it to stop. (I do wonder if it might be tied to the cruise control system.)

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