Never run with the crowd. They're probably headed over a cliff.

Unintended Acceleration Is Not Toyota's Real Problem

The country is horrified. The world waits in suspense. When will the next Toyota suddenly speed to 94 miles per hour and kill the driver and her family? Stuck accelerator pedals? Plush floor mats? A faulty throttle body? Actually none of these are responsible. So what is the problem? Perhaps the most striking example of lemming-like behavior ever observed in a 'higher' mammal.

To my knowledge, an automobile can only continue to accelerate (assuming a level grade) if torque from the engine is continually applied to the wheels. And to my knowledge, all production automobiles have a complex device known as a TRANSMISSION between the engine and the drive wheels. Typically this TRANSMISSION has a position called NEUTRAL in which the gears that transmit torque from the engine to the wheels become uncoupled. In every car in which I've ever ridden, there is a large lever called a SHIFT LEVER that allows the DRIVER to select NEUTRAL whenever she desires, thereby uncoupling the engine torque from the drive wheels so the car can roll to a STOP.

The latest example of the unintended acceleration phenomenon occured earlier this week in California. The DRIVER of a Prius actually called 911 which responded with a Highway Patrolman who drove alongside and suggested the DRIVER shift to NEUTRAL. Apparently the DRIVER refused because he believed the car would FLIP if he shifted to neutral. Flip? Flip? How in the hell does a car flip if you shift to neutral? That doesn't even happen in movies. Is it possible that a modern human can be this misinformed about the natural world? The place where they live everyday? I gues it is.

Toyota might have an engineering problem that needs to be fixed. And I can see how such a problem might result in a fender bender if a DRIVER is surprised and doesn't have time to hit NEUTRAL. But deaths after a thirty-minute episode on the interstate? Toyota's problem isn't their cars. It is their customers. Honestly they must be the stupidest people on the planet! But, maybe that's what you get when your entire worldview is the result of television, movies, and video games. Sadly, I can actually forsee a day coming when Americans will be too stupid to have the right to operate a motor vehicle.



don duncan said:

Twice, in 1970 & 1982, I had an accelerator linkage stick in the wide open position. It made for a brief moment of fear but I did not panic. I TURNED THE KEY OFF. Then I pulled over, got out and popped the hood. I am no mechanic. But I have eyes and a brain. I used them. I saw the problem. I fixed it. No problem. I drove off, a little shaken, but confident that I whatever happens in life, I can handle it by thinking. But that's just me. I see others whose first reaction is to become paralyzed with fear. Fear motivates me to raise my level of awareness to its highest. I used to believe this was a survival instinct. Now I see this is a CHOICE based on my previous thinking. I believe in the mind, and my mind in particular is there for survival.

# March 12, 2010 1:24 PM

FutbolGuru said:

I ride trials motorcycles. They aren't made for speed but have incredible torque and acceleration. It is easy to get hurt very badly, very quickly. I was making a tight turn in heavy brush one day when my throttle pegged wide open. The bike lurched forward alarmingly so I grabbed the throttle and hit the kill switch. I corrected the problem on the spot and we rode for a few more hours, the importance of keeping the clutch covered at all times now strongly reinforced in my psyche.

# March 12, 2010 2:29 PM