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Mandatory Brake-Override Proposed For All Cars

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the robot-overloads-give-permission-to-drive-fast dept.

Transportation 911

Hugh Pickens writes "The LA Times reports that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wants to require automakers to include a brake-throttle override system in all their cars and light trucks to help drivers regain control when a vehicle accelerates suddenly when the throttle becomes stuck or jammed. 'America's drivers should feel confident that any time they get behind the wheel they can easily maintain control of their vehicles — especially in the event of an emergency,' says Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. The move came after a fiery 2009 Lexus crash after a floor mat was improperly installed and may have trapped the accelerator pedal, causing the vehicle to race down California Highway 125 outside San Diego at more than 100 miles per hour, crashing and bursting into flames, killing an off-duty California Highway Patrol Officer and three members of his family. That crash led to a recall of 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles to fix the floor mat problem, and Toyota issued millions more recall notices to fix sticking gas pedals and other issues. Now Toyota has made a brake-override system standard, implementing it in all vehicles the company sold by the end of 2010, and most other automakers offer such a system on many of their vehicles or are adding it. Other automakers would have about two years to comply with the proposal (PDF). 'We learned as part of the comprehensive NASA and NHTSA studies of high-speed unintended acceleration that brake-override systems could help drivers avoid crashes,' says NHTSA Administrator David Strickland."

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911 comments

Wait, wtf, NASA again?!? (5, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#39674073)

Do they do everything *EXCEPT* a space program now?

Re:Wait, wtf, NASA again?!? (4, Informative)

GodInHell (258915) | about 2 years ago | (#39674171)

Apparently:

After months of study conducted for the National Research Council by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), researchers concluded that the unintended acceleration accidents in 2009 and 2010 couldn't be traced to any problems with engines' electronic throttle control systems.

cite [edmunds.com] .

Re:Wait, wtf, NASA again?!? (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 2 years ago | (#39674485)

The government wanted the *best* to analyze the system for flaws. I would say NASA has a pretty good record for the complexity of the systems the develop/operate/maintain.

Re:Wait, wtf, NASA again?!? (0)

jfengel (409917) | about 2 years ago | (#39674501)

What? Everybody loves to cite the great extra stuff we get out of NASA as justification for spending ten billion per year on gigantic phallic symbols with people on them.

I would love to see NASA be a space program, operating on half its present budget and getting ten times as much science done because 90% of it isn't spent on the propaganda of being able to put people in space. (And then using that to justify correspondingly large cuts in the blowing-people-up portion of our budget, which is 50 times as large.)

But if we're going to have it, we can at least get some kind of bennies out of it.

Just turn off the car? (4, Insightful)

hydroxy (863799) | about 2 years ago | (#39674105)

I never understood why this option was so difficult for people.

Re:Just turn off the car? (3, Insightful)

cs668 (89484) | about 2 years ago | (#39674141)

Exactly, the only downside is the steering wheel lock. But, that is still a better option than crashing at 130mph.

Re:Just turn off the car? (5, Informative)

hydroxy (863799) | about 2 years ago | (#39674175)

You just have to leave the key in the "on" position, for the steering to still work

Re:Just turn off the car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674191)

You can turn the vehicle to ON or ACCESSORY and the steering wheel lock won't be engaged...

Re:Just turn off the car? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674229)

How about just put it in Neutral? The brakes will still work even if the accellerator is forced all the way down. Ray LaHood has been in the news more than any previous SecTrans, and has been at the forefront of all sorts of questionable new regulations (ban on text messaging, ban on using a phone at all even if it's hands free, ban on any sort of moving display like a GPS, etc.) He's definitely trying to make a name for himself, and it's costing us money as well as freedom.

Re:Just turn off the car? (2)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about 2 years ago | (#39674255)

On every car I know the steering wheel lock only engages when the ignition key is pulled out.

Re:Just turn off the car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674329)

Not true. When you turn the car off, you lose vacuum, which includes power brakes, and ABS whenever the ignition is defeated. It's also highly unlikely that the steering wheel lock would engage with the wheel in a normal driving position.

What would really help in these cases is some responsibility on the part of the driver, but that will never happen for as long as we place what should be our individual agency into a machine. People fail to comprehend the gravity of their actions on the road because our technology is marketed to the delusion of the buyer, and despite the continued high prevalence of fatalities due to cell phone use, we see only this reactionary bullshit. Until people stop deluding themselves thinking they're the exception to the rule, it's not going to change.

Re:Just turn off the car? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674403)

And when you fail to stop in time and collide into the closest massive object, you'll notice that your airbags do not deploy. Because the car is OFF.

Re:Just turn off the car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674481)

How about neutral...

Re:Just turn off the car? (4, Informative)

malraid (592373) | about 2 years ago | (#39674167)

You should switch to neutral. If you turn off the engine, you loose power steering, brake boosters, and if you go too far, can even lock up the steering wheel. If you're driving with a manual transmission is even easier, just step on the clutch pedal.

Re:Just turn off the car? (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | about 2 years ago | (#39674357)

With the accelerator stuck, shifting into neutral would cause you to possibly blow your engine or have it start on fire. Turning the car off is the best option. You don't want to red line your engine continuously.

Re:Just turn off the car? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674411)

I would rather ruin the engine than kill myself. Your results may vary...

Re:Just turn off the car? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674431)

Most modern cars have a rev limiter in the computer, which will make a lot of noise but will prevent immediate engine damage.
Older cars without a rev limiter will over-rev, but not infinitely.

Also nobody ever said you couldn't do both; shift to neutral briefly, get lined up for the side of the road, shut off engine, coast / brake to stop.
The brake booster holds enough for 1-2 normal pedal applications; after that use both feet on the brake pedal, works just fine.

Re:Just turn off the car? (1, Interesting)

Relayman (1068986) | about 2 years ago | (#39674383)

My understanding is that the Lexus is fly-by-wire. In this case, moving the shifter to neutral had no effect on the transmission because the computer was screwed up.

Re:Just turn off the car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674399)

Wouldn't putting a car with a throttle jammed open blow the engine fairly quickly, leaving you without steering/brakes/etc... anyway?

Re:Just turn off the car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674173)

Probably because it's a shitty option. If you cut the power to the car, your power steering will no longer work, and you'll lose all control, which means you're just praying the car stops before you hit anything.

Re:Just turn off the car? (4, Interesting)

Loether (769074) | about 2 years ago | (#39674363)

As someone who used to "sneak in" when I was out past curfew. I can tell you it is possible to turn off a car and coast into your driveway while making a turn without power steering and power brakes. It is much more difficult, but doable if you know to expect it. The part about some steering wheels locking up is true, but if you leave the key in the accessory position it should still work. In any event as a driver I much prefer manual (more fun and safer in this case). Save the Manuals!

http://www.caranddriver.com/features/save-the-manuals-official-headquarters [caranddriver.com]

Re:Just turn off the car? (1)

bsane (148894) | about 2 years ago | (#39674379)

Power steering isn't fly-by-wire (yet). It only really helps at low speed parking lot type maneuvers. I once lost power at about 110mph, and while I could tell the power steering was no longer working it wasn't a big deal.

That said, some of these new cars aren't operated with traditional keys. Theres no sure way to turn off the engine in the model of lexus that crashed.

Re:Just turn off the car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674177)

Because then you lose power steering, and the wheel might (anti-theft) lock in some cases (not everyone thinks normally in emergency situations).
As for the title, shouldn't it state a "Throttle/accelerator pedal override"? as it's the accelerator we want to override, not the brakes.

Re:Just turn off the car? (1)

King_TJ (85913) | about 2 years ago | (#39674187)

Actually, they recommend simply shifting into neutral, vs. turning off the ignition. That way, your steering won't lock (and you won't even lose power steering assist or power brake assist functions).

Re:Just turn off the car? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674195)

you need to be a child riding a schoolbus to be smart enough to turn the keys to "off"

Re:Just turn off the car? (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about 2 years ago | (#39674503)

you need to be a child riding a schoolbus to be smart enough to turn the keys to "off"

Unless it's a Lexus schoolbus with keyless ignition.

Re:Just turn off the car? (1)

GodInHell (258915) | about 2 years ago | (#39674203)

Does that work in every vehicle? I seem to remember that my old escort wouldn't let you turn the key to "off" while it was in drive. . . which raises the question -- why not put the car in neutral?

-GiH

Re:Just turn off the car? (1)

GodInHell (258915) | about 2 years ago | (#39674243)

why not put the car in neutral?

Oh right -- answered my own question -- because you're panicking like a moron and can't think to do anything but stand on the brake.

Re:Just turn off the car? (4, Informative)

demonlapin (527802) | about 2 years ago | (#39674489)

If you stand on the brake, you'll stop. The brakes are more powerful than the engine in everything on the market.

Re:Just turn off the car? (4, Interesting)

Spectre (1685) | about 2 years ago | (#39674519)

why not put the car in neutral?

Oh right -- answered my own question -- because you're panicking like a moron and can't think to do anything but stand on the brake.

Actually, the people panicking like a moron and standing on the brake will come to a rapid and controlled stop.

It is the panicking morons that swear they are standing on the brake and are instead:
A) Standing on the accelerator
B) Timidly applying light brake and boiling brake fluid 'til the brakes don't work
these are the people that actually have issues with "unintended acceleration".

Re:Just turn off the car? (1)

RockClimbingFool (692426) | about 2 years ago | (#39674257)

You wouldn't want to turn off the car. Braking and steering would instantly become more difficult than most people would expect.

A better solution would be to put your car in neutral. Most, if not all, modern cars have RPM limiters on the engine, so your car jumping to max RPM shouldn't be an issue. It would just be loud. You can then coast to a stop with your power steering and power brakes still functioning.

Once you are stopped, then turn off the engine.

Re:Just turn off the car? (1)

demorphica (2496248) | about 2 years ago | (#39674271)

I never understood why this option was so difficult for people.

agree also, how about 1. turning of the car 2. Lowering gears 3. Hitting the brakes in 2nd (well, maybe not on an automatic transmission) But, I can also say from experience that it's situations like this when your blood simply freezes in the panic of the moment and you're totaled before you can react. I've been in a car crash once, and it took about 5 seconds for the car to flip thrice, scrape across the road for about 10 meters, and come to a standstill upside down.

Re:Just turn off the car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674283)

Referring to the incident that sparked this, it was an ES350 with push button start. Turning it off required you to hold down the button, a feature that many people probably don't know about.

Re:Just turn off the car? (1, Interesting)

Relayman (1068986) | about 2 years ago | (#39674315)

With the Lexus, you have to press the "Start" button and hold it for several seconds (10?) before it will turn the engine off. Makes sense to Windows fanboys but not the rest of us. There is no key to turn.

Re:Just turn off the car? (1)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | about 2 years ago | (#39674437)

Yeah, not sure what the problem is here... I can depress the clutch in about half a second (including reaction time) if something goes wrong. Once that's done I've got all the time in the world to turn off the engine (or leave it on if I really need the power steering, even though it'd kill the engine)

Re:Just turn off the car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674445)

LOL my car has the emergency override since it was made in 1969. It's called manual clutch + handbrake.

How would this work on a manual transmission? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674129)

You ain't never gettin off that hill, bud

Re:How would this work on a manual transmission? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674483)

Ha. I bet they wouldn't require this for a manual as any manual driver would instinctively use the clutch and shift to neutral. Your hill comment is funny. My '07 manual BMW has a hill assist feature that applies the brake for a few seconds untill you start to move forward when you are on an incline and shifting from neutral to first. It surprised the first time i noticed it.

Re:How would this work on a manual transmission? (1)

tnk1 (899206) | about 2 years ago | (#39674527)

They stated that the system would be something like, if you hit the brake first, you could then use the accelerator. However, if you hit the accelerator first, the brake override would kick in. There is an understanding that there are some times when you need to use both pedals.

Got one! (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 years ago | (#39674131)

I have one of those systems, it's called the 'ignition key'. I turn it to the left and the engine stops.

Re:Got one! (1)

bool2 (1782642) | about 2 years ago | (#39674241)

Many new cars don't have one.

In their place they have an RF proximity key and a start/stop button.

Pressing the start/stop button whilst the car is moving does nothing.

I did wonder what would happen if I chucked the key out the window whilst moving though...

Re:Got one! (1)

mikestew (1483105) | about 2 years ago | (#39674449)

I did wonder what would happen if I chucked the key out the window whilst moving though...

It will continue to run, but won't restart once stopped. At least that's what the valet says my Nissan Leaf does when I forget to give him the key. The valet/forgetful owner situation is just one of the reasons I'm not a fan of RF keys, but at least that scenario was apparently thought through.

Re:Got one! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674245)

Many cars are push-button now (e.g. many of the toyota's and lexuses that were affected). AFAIK, shutting down a non-idling car usually requires holding the button down for a few seconds to prevent accidental shutdown at highway speed.

Since many of these same cars already have electronic throttle, a brake-override is really just some additional code.

Many modern cars do not have ignition switch (2)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about 2 years ago | (#39674311)

My car doesn't have an ignition key; it has a software on-off switch. There is no guaranteed way of turning off the engine if the throttle sticks.

The only workable response in that hypothetical situation would be to move the control knob into neutral and apply both brakes. The engine management will prevent the engine from blowing up. If the clutch doesn't disengage, still apply both brakes with maximum force (anything else could destroy the brakes by pad wear.)

Wrong override (4, Interesting)

anonymousNR (1254032) | about 2 years ago | (#39674133)

America needs a Driver Override. Being a troll because I have got karma to burn. Seriously though,this is more likely to be used as a backdoor to Bad driving

Dawin strikes again! (2)

BenJury (977929) | about 2 years ago | (#39674137)

The move came after a fiery 2009 Lexus crash after a floor mat was improperly installed and may have trapped the accelerator pedal, causing the vehicle to race down California Highway 125 outside San Diego at more than 100 miles per hour, crashing and bursting into flames, killing an off-duty California Highway Patrol Officer and three members of his family.

Sounds Darwinian to me. If you don't know how to turn your car off, then frankly as a race we don't need you genes!

Re:Dawin strikes again! (1)

Theophany (2519296) | about 2 years ago | (#39674359)

Oh, the irony. Ever tried cutting the engine at speed? You do know how hydraulic brakes and electric steering work, right?

Re:Dawin strikes again! (1)

bool2 (1782642) | about 2 years ago | (#39674505)

You do know how hydraulic brakes work?

I guess the fluid stays in the pipes and they work as normal. (until the servo assist runs out then you have to stamp harder)

and electric steering work, right?

That's what batteries are for.

Re:Dawin strikes again! (1)

menos (112815) | about 2 years ago | (#39674401)

The move came after a fiery 2009 Lexus crash after a floor mat was improperly installed and may have trapped the accelerator pedal, causing the vehicle to race down California Highway 125 outside San Diego at more than 100 miles per hour, crashing and bursting into flames, killing an off-duty California Highway Patrol Officer and three members of his family.

Sounds Darwinian to me. If you don't know how to turn your car off, then frankly as a race we don't need you genes!

If I remember this case it was a rental car with a push button starter. As others have mentioned it requires you to hold the start button in for 10 seconds to shut the engine off. The person who rented the car was not made aware of that at the time they rented the car.

VW and Audi (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674143)

This has been the norm for VW and Audi vehicles for at least 12 years. If you keep your foot on the brake, the engine will drop to an idle.

Manual transmission cars.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674151)

How would this work in manual transmission cars? if this happens in first gear in my car I don't think I can break 25mph and maybe not 20mph.....Of course I'd just put the clutch in & turn off the car

Easier Solution (1)

Ginger_Chris (1068390) | about 2 years ago | (#39674153)

Wouldn't it be easier just to make sure that cars' throttles don't get jammed or stuck?

It's called defense in depth (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#39674299)

It's called defense in depth. Make it harder for throttles to get stuck, but also make it harder for a stuck throttle to cause a collision.

Clutch (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674157)

Depress clutch, engine disconnected. job done. all it'll do then is make noise.

e brake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674161)

isn't that why the E' Brake is installed? Or is that just for looks ?

CHP Officer driving a 2009 Lexus? (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 2 years ago | (#39674165)

Apparently CHP officers get paid very well. Or you could imply the other option...

Innacurate article title... (4, Funny)

yurtinus (1590157) | about 2 years ago | (#39674185)

Probably should have reworded: "Expensive, high-tech system mandated to overcome floor mat design flaw" just to highlight the ridiculousness...

Ignition or Neutral (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674201)

Sure both are likely to cause damage to the vehicle but seriously. What happens if the brake override malfunctions and engages the brake at an unwanted time?

That's what brakes are for (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#39674209)

A properly functioning brake system will be able to overcome any force the engine can can produce. If you stand on both pedals, your car should go nowhere.

Re:That's what brakes are for (1)

joke_dst (832055) | about 2 years ago | (#39674319)

Yes, but what if the floormat is blocking the brake as well? From the other direction, pushing it up. I mean, they obviously don't know how to design floormats... :P

Re:That's what brakes are for (5, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 2 years ago | (#39674381)

Then you use the Emergency Floormat Removal Pedal (assuming it's not jammed by anything else).

Re:That's what brakes are for (0)

Relayman (1068986) | about 2 years ago | (#39674453)

"Should" is the important word here. In many luxury cars, the engine is more powerful than the brakes. People won't pay extra for big brakes.

Toyota's had a lot of problems since the late 90s (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#39674217)

As they've grown to the world's largest car company, their quality has plummeted: The worst was when they had engines that failed after just ~25,000 miles and Toyota refused to replace them. They blamed the customers instead and voided the warranty (how convenient). Right now I would no more buy a Toyota than I would buy a GM car or Yugo.

LINK - http://www.consumeraffairs.com/automotive/toyota.htm [consumeraffairs.com]

Re:Toyota's had a lot of problems since the late 9 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674391)

As they've grown, they've had more idiots that cannot drive cars use them.

Re:Toyota's had a lot of problems since the late 9 (3, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#39674513)

Sorry, Toyota reliability is still top notch. My family has owned 6 of them and they have all lasted 20 years at least.

2012 Consumer Reports top 9 most reliable brands were Japanese. Scion, Lexus and Toyota were three of those 9.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/cr-recommended/best-worst-in-car-reliability/reliability-findings/reliability-findings.htm [consumerreports.org]

Brake override is built-in already ... (5, Informative)

Spectre (1685) | about 2 years ago | (#39674239)

I don't believe there has ever been a production model of car or truck where the brakes aren't FAR more powerful than the engine/transmission.

If you apply the brake firmly, you WILL stop, even if the engine is at Wide-Open Throttle.

http://www.caranddriver.com/features/how-to-deal-with-unintended-acceleration [caranddriver.com]

Re:Brake override is built-in already ... (4, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#39674423)

I was in a car in the late 60's with my father when a bolt holding the air filter on came off and dropped into the carb jamming the throttle wide open. This was a bad ass Buick 445 V8 so we took off like a scalded cat.

I reached over and turned off the ignition and we coasted to a safe stop. I was 12 at the time.

The problem with these people is they have no idea how their car works or how to drive. So we are going to put in more safety systems which of course make how a car operates less transparent.

Re:Brake override is built-in already ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674477)

Then you have never seen a break stand of one of those old muscle cars. Quite impressive, loud and smoke filled...

You think a car full throttle would not be able to overcome some silly breaks? Newer ones it is probably harder because the computer will get involved. But older ones it was almost laughably trivial to do. In fact it was a way to show off how 'bad ass' your car was by lighting off the tires...

Technology for stupid people and assholes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674247)

The move came after a fiery 2009 Lexus crash after a floor mat was improperly installed and may have trapped the accelerator pedal, causing the vehicle to race down California Highway 125 outside San Diego at more than 100 miles per hour, crashing and bursting into flames, killing an off-duty California Highway Patrol Officer and three members of his family.

So, the moron driving the car couldn't slam the car into neutral?

Grab and yank the emergency brake and slam on the breaks?

Manual transmission: slam on brakes stall car. Even with the throttle to the metal.

Automatic: slam on brakes car stops moving even with the throttle to the floor.

Secondly, the throttle couldn't have been "stuck at full" by the floor mat unless the driver pushed it there in the first place because he was driving like an asshole in the first place.

I think that whole "accident" was just an asshole driving recklessly and blaming the car after killing people.

Of all these "car went out of control because of 'defective' throttle" problems I've seen, EVERY ONE of them could have been stopped by putting the car into neutral and slamming on the brakes.

Nope, they were all assholes in luxury cars driving like assholes.

Re:Technology for stupid people and assholes (1)

Relayman (1068986) | about 2 years ago | (#39674509)

My understanding is that moving the shifter into neutral had no effect on the transmission because the computer was screwed up. The floor mat thing was a red herring.

On a Lexus, slamming on the brakes is not enough to overcome the engine.

Sorry, you're the asshole.

Were they ever in control before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674259)

Really. Honest question. The skills that are *necessary* to drive in the USA are minimal at best, and inadequate mostly. Even though the skill of the actual driver possible is as good as, say, Europe, the requirement to be able to actually drive keeps a lot of the less capable off the roads, and no matter how capable a driver YOU are, if there are incapable ones are on the road, they WILL reduce your ability to control your car properly.

A case in point is this legislation.

Turn off the ignition.

Disengage the engine.

Apply the BRAKES.

The "emergency brake" is misnamed, but the incapability of the average driver in the USA who is actually allowed to drive in a car ensures that when this HANDBRAKE is applied, it is done in an emergency, where the handbrake is not intended to be used. The actual brakes are supposed to be able to brake and stop the car EVEN IF the engine is running full pelt and cannot be disengaged.

Those are the brakes to use.

Not the handbrake.

Then this legislation wouldn't be needed.

At least it should be easy to do (2)

msobkow (48369) | about 2 years ago | (#39674265)

Given that electronic fuel injection systems really only use a pedal sensor rather than an old-fashioned accelerator linkage moving an arm on the carb, it should be quite easy for a tap on the brake to override the accelerator inputs.

But the brake-torquing fans are going to be pissed! :D

Re:At least it should be easy to do (1)

ZorinLynx (31751) | about 2 years ago | (#39674395)

>But the brake-torquing fans are going to be pissed! :D

This is absolutely horrible for your transmission's torque converter. Car makers have every reason to prevent this as it will stop dumbasses from ruining their torque converters and trying to make warranty claims. And I'm all for preventing it too as fewer warranty claims means lower cost of ownership in the long run.

Besides, doing this doesn't really gain you much performance.

Re:At least it should be easy to do (1)

ZorinLynx (31751) | about 2 years ago | (#39674415)

I should add that if you want to drive like this, just get a manual transmission. It's more fun for racing anyway.

La Hood, the moron (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674273)

This dunderhead has nothing better to do than to allocate someone else's money to solve a problem than doesn't exist

This is going ... (3, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#39674281)

... to mess up all the geezers who use the brake pedal as a footrest.

Fortunately, they seem to be accounting for certain intended accelerator/brake operation in the design. Or they'll just screw up the drag racing off a traffic light tradition. I just hope they leave it off cars with manual transmissions and clutches. If you can't figure out how to stop one of those, you deserve all that Darwin has to offer.

You can already do this on your own (1)

djhertz (322457) | about 2 years ago | (#39674291)

-Put it in neutral
-Put it in park
-Pull the handbrake/emergency brake
-Pull the key/shut the car off

If the brakes in the car fail due to floormats, then a special system to allow the brakes to 'over ride' the gas could also fail for other reasons such as floor mats still just blocking the brakes (which I've never really understood anyways). I could see a new system like this actually causing more problems by making the breaking/gas more complex.

Re:You can already do this on your own (3, Informative)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 2 years ago | (#39674413)

Or you could just step on the clutch. One more reason to drive stick. :-)

It's confirmed (5, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | about 2 years ago | (#39674303)

The government wants cars to be unaffordable. They want to ladle so many requirements on building them that you'll need a six figure income to buy one. Sheesh.

I grew up in the 70's with a VW beetle as our family car. It didn't have anti-lock brakes, a third brake light, air conditioning, air-bags, a computer, or annoying "Door Ajar" voice. It had thin doors. Hell, it didn't even have a radiator.Those old bug engines were air-cooled. They were so light and easy to maintain, my dad overhauled one in our yard. He literally unbolted the engine from the motor mounts, lifted it up and out with his own hands, worked on it, then put it back. All without the help of pulleys, computer analysis kits, or microchips. You could drive to forever and back on a tank of gas. It was the most reliable car we ever owned.

And now, you couldn't build one in America if you wanted to, because the government would forbid it. "Inherently unsafe", they'd call it. They'd produce 3,000 pages of requirements to be filled before you could actually make one. And yet my family drove one for almost two decades, and it was safe, cheap, and reliable. So yeah, I do think that the government wants to price Americans out of the auto market sometimes.

Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674309)

Every car I have ever owned had this device called an emergency or parking brake that was manually operated either by hand or foot.
I have had the oportunity to use this in a situation where the brakes failed, fortunately it was not at high speed.
My take on this is know what is installed on your vehicle and know how to operate it. If you do not then you will panic and possibly die or worse kill someone else because of your ignorance.

So because one person didn't know how to drive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674339)

... I won't be able to power brake my car?
Seriously, a lexus doesn't have enough power to over power the brakes. The brakes absorb more power than the engine can produce. No 'override' needed.

What is really going on is this. NHTSA has reduced the death rate on American highways to about the level on Germany's Autobahns. Of course Germany (and generally speaking Europe, does it by insisting on a minimal driving skill). In the US its done with technology. Heavy cars, loaded with safety features etc. Airbags that break your arms etc. Now how can they justify their existance? They have tackled the low hanging fruit...

Now, they are going to solve the non-existant problem. Or maybe re-inforce that cars have a neutral gear position....

A bit excessive (3, Insightful)

pablo_max (626328) | about 2 years ago | (#39674347)

I can help but think this is a bit excessive. I could imagine if this were a common occurrence to where one had a reasonable chance of the accelerator being stuck, but I dont imagine it is.
I only know one person in San Diego driving a Toyota where that happened. Granted, he and his family were killed, but there are lots of people killed in freak accidents.
We cant make the world totally bubble wrapped. I dont want to pay for it at least.

From the Department of Redundancy Department (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674361)

If your vehicle experiences unexpected acceleration ( probably due to your foot jammed on the wrong pedal )
you can either a: shove in the clutch ( if you drive a stick ), b: turn off the engine, c: shift into neutral,
or d: throw the brake throttle override switch, if you can find it because unlike the other three options
which you use instinctively every day, you've never thrown that particular switch before.
Brain damaged asshole politicians !

How do you rev match while downshifting and stop? (1)

jgordon7 (49263) | about 2 years ago | (#39674367)

Wouldn't such a system make toe-n-heel impossible? While most drivers of a manual do not know how or even why to do such a maneuver, it is required in order to properly downshift a manual transmission. If you do not rev match when downshifting it not only makes for a rough ride but is also very rough on the drivetrain.

I don't know how it is in the US.... (3, Insightful)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | about 2 years ago | (#39674373)

But in Europe, all cars have to have (by law) brakes that have enough stopping power to overcome the engine. The result is that hitting the brakes will slow you down despite full throttle. This will eventually lead to a stall of the engine and a complete stop. You will damage your car, but at the point you're using this lives are at stake. Does this not apply in the US?

Then again, I've only ever really driven manuals, where in such a situation (not that it ever happened to me) I can just lift the clutch and coast to the side. Can you not shift an automatic transmission from "D" to "N" when accelerating? I've never tried tbh, but I can't think of why that wouldn't work...

Also, what is wrong with turning off the engine? Turn the key so the ignition is off, and then turn it part way. This is usually enough to stop the steering lock engaging, while still not starting the engine again.

I've never heard of this being a problem in Europe, honestly. We have automatics here too, but I've yet to hear of any runaway cars. Is this a US specific problem? If so what would cause it to be so? (or have I just missed out on these events in Europe)

Also, the BBC provide a nice article on what to do if you are in a runaway car: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8498257.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:I don't know how it is in the US.... (2)

Ogi_UnixNut (916982) | about 2 years ago | (#39674433)

Apologies, turns out the comments on the BBC article are full of people who had runaway car problems in the UK, so must be common in Europe as well. Oh, and to clarify, when I meant turn the key "part way" I meant to the accessory position, where things are still powered on, but no ignition. This would stop the steering lock engaging.

Not as crazy as it sounds (1)

metrometro (1092237) | about 2 years ago | (#39674375)

I had an accelerator get stuck under a floor mat. It was a stick shift and I put it in neutral (while the tach pinged against the rev limiter) and coasted to the side of the road and shut off the truck. No harm done.

On an automatic, that would have been somewhat more difficult -- there's no muscle memory to pop an automatic into neutral, and if we'd been in traffic, it could have easily been a fatal screwup from a big piece of carpet. Given how most cars are drive by wire already, this seems like a good idea.

 

seriously?? (3, Insightful)

GReaToaK_2000 (217386) | about 2 years ago | (#39674377)

How often does this happen? (does it statistically matter?)
NO!
There are so many other things which should be recommended as mandatory.
How about mandatory bluetooth integration in ALL cars to prevent drivers from using their hands to do anything other than drive?
THAT would save more lives than are lost due to "speeding out of control".

I don't understand, turn off the engine (1)

holophrastic (221104) | about 2 years ago | (#39674385)

I don't get it. If my car were flying down the highway, accellerator jammed, I turn off the engine. If I don't want to lose power braking, I shift into neutral. The engine can blow in neutral, rev-limiter might save it, I brake as usual.

So who learned to drive a car, and didn't learn to stop driving a car? Since my first highway driving lesson included being taught to confidently restart the engine at 120 kph in the event that anything fails ever. I was 16 then. And my car was worth $4'000. Perhaps I'd have been willing to crash a $90'000 car in a fiery death.

I have one already! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674417)

It's called a clutch. It works great.

You should have one on your next car.

All of my cars have had this . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674425)

Clutch + Rev Limiter . . . . why, what do you guys have?

Busy work for NHTSA (1)

deblau (68023) | about 2 years ago | (#39674441)

There is no need for this at all. The Lexus crash was a tragedy, yes, but then all of the faulty cars were recalled and now Toyota has a standard braking system installed. What problem, exactly, is NHTSA trying to fix?? Other than making more work for themselves so they can justify a budget...

Not a fix. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about 2 years ago | (#39674467)

A lot of cars already do this, particularly if they've got drive-by-wire systems which I thought the Prius featured. But the fact is that this is not going to make a single bit of different for anyone who mashed the gas pedal in a panic thinking they're stomping on the brake.

And it's been demonstrated time and again that brakes will overpower any engine. The key, however, if being decisive when you first encounter a problem and not stupidly poking at and releasing the brakes to the point that they start overheating. And the fact is that every single car on the road, automatic and manual alike can be dropped into neutral at any time.

The problem here isn't limitations in the technology, it's inadequate driver training. People don't understand how cars work. There are certain things that should be mandatory. My state mandates a 8 hour course where they dwell on the obvious, like don't drink and drive, but don't get into the principles of how a car works. They gloss over important topics.

So instead of improving education they keep mandating more crap be stuffed in cars creating a false sense of security.

Jeep Cherokee (1)

SohCahToa (1038480) | about 2 years ago | (#39674479)

I actually support this a good deal. If anyone remembers the Jeep Cherokee Sudden acceleration issue back in the early 2000s, its a goo move. I was involved in one of those accidents (my jeep shot across my nieghborhood and ended up hitting a tree 5 houses down) and the inability to controll your acceration is a completely helpless, terrifying feeling

Ridiculous Overkill (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674487)

How many times does this happen? Yet they're going to require all cars to add new hardware to deal with it?!

Throttle override? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39674511)

A brake override is a nice idea, I wouldn't want the brakes to go uncontrolled while I was stomping on the accellerator.... but it might also be a good idea to override the throttle sometimes, too. However, we'd need something to be in charge of these overrides ... we could give it a catchy name, like 'Driver' or something...

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