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Unintended Acceleration - Find the Cause

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  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    "The brake failure and inability to shut off the ignition are almost moot points now. The bottom line from a legal standpoint is that the testimony showed that there were flaws in the design of the ECU, and that those flaws could lead to unintended acceleration. Whether or not there are ways the UA condition could have have been ameliorated/worked around is almost beside the point."

    Well, if we're looking at it from a legal standpoint, by which I mean convincing non-technically oriented people of something, the question remains...

    Why did the UA incidents go away?

    Certainly the recall could have an impact, but no recall even gets close to 100% coverage of the recalled vehicles being repaired/modified. And, since we are talking about the possibility of hundreds of thousands of "potentially" affected vehicles still running around without any fix being applied, it seems to me that one would need a bit more proof to convince people on a jury that a real problem exists, or ever existed.

    Just because something "could" happen in no way means it "will", or "has" happened.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,630
    Did the UA incidents go away or just fall off the news cycle?

    Tesla Model S Involved In 'Unintended Acceleration Incident (autoblog.com - 9/25/13)

    Unintended acceleration is claimed in New York accident (consumeraffairs.com - 11/26/13)

    Oh, just got sidetracked - the tin whiskers theory lives on:

    Genesee County judge orders Toyota to turn over documents in fatal unintended acceleration crash case (mlive.com/)

    The Audi case lives on - this one isn't going anywhere fast either.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,700
    edited November 2013
    Well if I read everything correctly, the testimony proves no such thing--it proves the *potential* UA from a design defect (a "what if" scenario) but in fact, in reality, no critic has been able to just hop in a Toyota, not touch it or manipulate it, and make this actually happen.

    And it doesn't even touch on what level of competence we expect from a "driver" of a modern vehicle.

    Based on this "evidence", what prevents someone from suing a car company that built a car with a big blind spot, thereby "causing" the driver to have an accident?

    How To Spot a Conspiracy Theory:

    1. The "official story" from the suspected party is always a lie

    2. The alternative explanations, no matter how convoluted, are always more credible than the official story

    3. Any evidence that contradicts the alternative explanations are only proof of the depth and cleverness of the conspiracy.

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  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    "Did the UA incidents go away or just fall off the news cycle? "

    I don't know if it makes much of a difference in the end.

    The legal system is all about opinion, and much less about the actual facts.

    Just ask anyone freed by the Innocence Project that were previously convicted because a small group of individuals found them "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt".

    We will all be long dead and gone before the final chapter is written on Toyota and UA.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,700
    Drivers should be able to know what to do in a UA incident. This should be a part of any basic training. There are people out there operating 1.5 tons of hurtling steel who probably could mess up a paperclip while trying to use it.

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  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    "Drivers should be able to know what to do in a UA incident. This should be a part of any basic training. There are people out there operating 1.5 tons of hurtling steel who probably could mess up a paperclip while trying to use it."

    I completely agree.

    Who does history hold to blame for the Titanic sinking, the Captain or the shipbuilders?

    Most historians would place the blame squarely on Cap'n Smith's shoulders, even though there were (clearly by today's standards, anyway) "issues" with the ship's construction.

    IMO, it seems that some believe there will be a magical "Aha!" moment, at which time all facts will be revealed, clearly identifying Toyota (in this case, anyway) as knowingly negligent in manufacturing cars with UA an inevitability. Even if that were to happen, I can see them looking like a deer in the headlights of an oncoming 18-wheeler after it gets dragged through the US court system, wondering what happened...
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    Brakes fail easily when you hit the gas pedal instead ;)

    Still curious to me that most of these incidents happened to older drivers in cars usually not aimed at those who are "with it", so to speak.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,094
    “The driver of the Lexus SUV was parking her vehicle when the vehicle accelerated over a parking barrier onto East Bidwell Street, then back toward the building,” said Andrew Bates, Folsom Police officer. “The car crashed through a side window and into the main area of the shop.”

    The driver and her passenger were not injured, but eight customers inside the store were hurt.

    Although the investigation is ongoing, there is no indication that impairment, age or cell phone usage was a factor in the crash.

    http://www.sacbee.com/2013/12/10/5989688/suv-crashes-into-starbucks-in.html
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    edited December 2013
    Given the extreme situational awareness of Lexus SUV drivers, I am skeptical.

    "there is no indication that impairment, age or cell phone usage was a factor in the crash. "

    According to the badge carrying demographic, the Paul Walker/Roger Rodas death car was only going 40-45, too.

    The Lexus is also a first gen RX, no newer than 2003, if it matters.
  • When Rhonda Smith testified before congress about her runaway Lexus as it was going ~100mph, that she dialed up her husband on her cell phone and
    "God Intervened" to slow her car to ~35mph. Someone should have asked
    "What number did you dial? did it contain the digits 3 and 5?" no one did

    Cell phone frequency ranges of 800 MHz to 2100 MHz give a wave length of
    WL=Light Speed / Frequency, where W.L. varies from 14" at 800 Mhz to
    5.3" at 2100 MHz. Now an FM "T" antenna of half wave wire lengths will
    RECEIVE these RF signals. So any wire length of 7" protruding into cockpit
    will pick up 800 MHz, can we say CRUISE CONTROL lever, using turn signal

    So when Rhonda Smith dialed her phone she sent a digital signal thru the
    turn signal arm directly into the CPU for Cruise Control and it responded
    Why did gov't DOT NOT say anything? Last thing gov't needs is another
    car company to bail out, so better to say nothing, just like when they
    finally realized Tobacco fields were full of poisonous Arsenate of Leadd
    Just zip you lip and let tobacco plants suck up all the poison, hey, the
    stoopid smokers are gonna' die from Nicotine and Tar poison anyway so
    who cares?
  • la4meadla4mead Posts: 347
    edited December 2013
    Is it claimed this might be the fault of Toyota/Lexus? I drive this model/gen RX300. Completely unrelated to this vehicle, I have also recently been the victim of another driver of an early 80's Lincoln at-fault in an "unintended acceleration" accident where the driver clearly mistook the throttle for the brake pedal, mashing the throttle of the V8 to the floor in the effort to try to stop the huge sedan. This driver came up with lots of excuses why it was not his fault. I had a feeling blaming the car was coming next. So again, in my limited experience, it is all too common for people to come up with excuses to place blame elsewhere rather than accept blame as the driver of the vehicle.
    Although obviously I wasn't witness to the accident in this article, if I mistakenly shifted my transmission into the wrong drive gear or hit the throttle instead of the brake, it would be pretty easy to plow through a Starbucks, endangering patrons. My experience with the RX has been admittedly limited my own ownership during the past 15 years and hundreds of thousands of miles, however I am looking forward to seeing solid evidence to support the claim that it was defective engineering or parts and not driver error.
    Even if it accelerates on it's own - assuming a cruise malfunction that is not fail-safe - why are the brakes disabled too?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,700
    A UA "incident" is terrifying. The driver would have to be an exceptionally cool dude to look down at his feet and determine if HE is the cause (he probably is, but that's another story).

    "Evidence" is based on replication. If you can't replicate your theory, you can't prove it. All theories need to be falsifiable, but apparently UA incidents are faith-based and defy testing.

    The only tests I've seen show that even at full throttle, you can stop a car with the brakes.

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,094
    The cop and family that were killed in the Lexus ES350 had completely burnt the pads off trying to stop the car. In that case is was determined the wrong floormats were the cause of UA. That dealer is no longer a Lexus dealer by the way. Still being sued by the family. Toyota settled for $10 million. Also the goofy kill switched had to be held down for 3 seconds to stop the engine.

    I don't think this case has gotten to the finger pointing stage yet. Just want to keep up with all the ToyLex crashes where it is a possibility.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,700
    You can stop a car with the brakes at full throttle. As for the stop button, that's what an owner's manual is for.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    It seems in virtually all of these cases, when data is analyzed to see if brakes were applied, they weren't - even if the "driver" insists otherwise. Couple that with the fact that most of these UA cars attract people who see driving as a chore and that the drivers aren't the most "with it" on the roads, it doesn't seem like the cars are going crazy. Still waiting to see a documented UA claim with a 30 year old male in a Camry/Prius/Lexus.
  • houdini1houdini1 Kansas City areaPosts: 6,028
    It amazes me at all the complicated reasons for UA that people come up with...chrome whiskers, radio waves, you name it. Then they ignore the most simple reasons...driver error or fraud and greed.

    2013 LX 570 2010 LS 460 2002 Tacoma 4x4

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,094
    How many people read the owner's manual on a loaner car?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,094
    How about a 36 year old male?

    The expert hired by lawyers for a Minnesota man imprisoned for vehicular manslaughter after his speeding Toyota killed three people has filed a report claiming that he has identified a mechanical flaw that could have caused the accident.

    "This makes our case even stronger," said Bob Hilliard, an attorney for Koua Fong Lee, 36, who is serving an eight-year prison sentence. Hilliard hopes to convince Ramsey County, Minnesota prosecutors to free Lee from prison pending a new trial.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/RunawayToyotas/expert-mechanical-defect-found-runa- way-toyota-camry-killed/story?id=10667854
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,630
    edited December 2013
    Most of the time the manual isn't even available in the loaner or rental car.

    (Houdini1, I always heard it as "tin" whiskers but I guess it's really "metal whikering". :))

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,700
    how many pilots read the owner's manual on a rental plane?

    Answer: ALL OF THEM

    What's so hard about "Hey, how do I turn this thing on and off?"

    Besides, one's instinct when you press a button and nothing happens?

    Yep, you press more often and harder.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    edited December 2013
    Almost 4 year old story that uses "breaking" for the use of brakes? I need more than that :) Any updates?

    A 1996 car even at 10 years old is old enough to have who knows what kind of botched repairs, too. Not seeing a direct connection to the cases involving 2003+ designs when the cars were often only a couple years old.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    I'd go for the former, or maybe mechanical failure in an old car.

    In so many of these cases, no actual evidence of braking could be found.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,094
    Still could be a poorly designed accelerator. Prosecutor must have thought a defective vehicle was a possibility. That was a harsh sentence where no drugs or alcohol were evident.

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (CBS/WCCO/AP) Koua Fong Lee, the Minnesota man convicted in a 2006 Toyota crash that left three dead is now a free man. Shortly after a judge ordered a new trial for Lee - citing new evidence and a shoddy defense - Ramsay County prosecutor Susan Gaertner said she will not seek another trial.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/toyota-driver-koua-fong-lee-released-from-prison-no-- new-trial-for-deadly-crash/

    I disagree with the statement that any car can be stopped at WOT with braking. The tests done during the UA recalls NEVER went to 120 MPH as the cop was going when he tried stopping the Lexus.
  • la4meadla4mead Posts: 347
    "You can stop a car with the brakes at full throttle. As for the stop button, that's what an owner's manual is for."

    This model RX300 does not have keyless start; to stop the engine, simply turn the key the first click "off" - but without turning it to the last click to "lock".
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,700
    edited December 2013
    why would anyone in his right mind wait to 120 mph to apply the brake? it would take a long time to reach that speed. If he waited that long to react, then something was wrong with HIM.

    That's like saying you can't stop a bicycle at 150 mph. Probably not.

    I know you might disagree, but it's been proven many many times. You can stop a car with WOT, which implies you can stop it from ever reaching 120 mph.

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  • la4meadla4mead Posts: 347
    "why would anyone in his right mind wait to 120 mph to apply the brake? it would take a long time to reach that speed. If he waited that long to react, then something was wrong with HIM.

    That's like saying you can't stop a bicycle at 150 mph. Probably not.

    I know you might disagree, but it's been proven many many times. You can stop a car with WOT, which implies you can stop it from ever reaching 120 mph."

    By the time the vehicle reaches 120, any driver with half a brain would have tried moving to the left pedal, braking, shutting the engine off, shifting to neutral, pulling mats or water bottles away, etc. Anyone else is an incompetent driver.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    Harsh sentence indeed, that's our beloved criminal justice system at work, keeping things safe and just. So many of these overpaid judges and prosecutors need to be put under a microscope.

    It could have been some kind of freak random incident, but I don't know if it links those in later model cars and their sometimes wildstories.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,094
    By the time the vehicle reaches 120, any driver with half a brain would have tried moving to the left pedal, braking, shutting the engine off, shifting to neutral, pulling mats or water bottles away, etc. Anyone else is an incompetent driver.

    I would probably agree that California Highway Patrolmen are over paid if they can afford to drive a Lexus. I don't generally consider them incompetent drivers. I guess we will never know for sure. We do know Toyota paid dearly for the crash that sent them into a downward spiral.

    The crash made headlines nationwide. An investigation found that an improper floor mat caused the gas pedal on the Lexus to become stuck and the driver, California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor, was unable to slow the car down. Toyota recalled more than 4 million vehicles following the investigation’s findings.

    Saylor, his wife Cleofe, their 13-year-old daughter, Mahala, and passenger Chris Lastrella were killed. Lastrella was Saylor’s brother-in-law.

    Saylor was loaned the 2009 ES 350 Lexus by Bob Baker Lexus El Cajon when he dropped his car off at the dealership to be serviced. News reports said that a man who previously drove the loaner Lexus reported acceleration problems to the dealership when he returned it.


    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/27/toyota-sudden-acceleration-internal-ema- il_n_1232279.html?ref=mostpopular
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,630
    Wasn't there some argument made that braking power would be reduced if the driver kept pumping the brakes instead of just standing on them?

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,700
    That's not a very strong argument because it presupposes that just because he is a CHP that he somehow has god-given powers in any kind of emergency. He is trained in vehicle control and he failed, in my opinion, because he was given a situation that wasn't in the training. As any pilot can tell you, this is exactly what causes grievous pilot error.

    He didn't know how to shut the vehicle off, and he didn't know what was happening to him. Had he known, in 3 seconds he could have either shut the car off or pulled up the floor mat.

    So, in the end, he was no better trained than you or I to handle this.

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