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Brett Emison
Brett Emison
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Toyota Sudden Acceleration Recall: Company Focuses On Wrong Problem

10 comments

There have been a number of reports regarding the Toyota sudden acceleration recall since it was announced yesterday, the day before Thanksgiving. The experts at Safety Research & Strategies have an excellent analysis of why the Toyota recall will not fix the underlying acceleration problem.

Get out the Saw, Hammer and Computer

Toyota’s fix, which is expected to start in January, will first cut the length of the accelerator pedals until replacement pedal assemblies become available several months later.

According to NHTSA, Toyota will also install a brake-to-idle algorithm on the Camry, Avalon and Lexus ES 350, IS 350 and IS 250 models as an “extra measure of confidence.” This design, found in other manufacturers’ vehicles with electronic throttle, including Audi, BMW and VW, will bring the engine to idle if both the brake and the accelerator pedals are applied. A significant number of motorists who experienced frightening SUA events reported that no amount of braking would stop the vehicle once it took off.

SRS President Sean Kane said Toyota’s long-awaited fixes are welcome, but the recall doesn’t include some of the well-known problem vehicles, such as the 2002 – 2006 Camry / Lexus ES which also have electronic throttle controls. Nor does Toyota’s recall include all models that the company claims have experienced floor mat interference unintended acceleration incidents.

“Do floor mats cause unintended acceleration in Toyotas, yes. But floor mats don’t explain many of the incidents. The good news from this recall is that regardless of the cause of unintended acceleration, the brake override remedy will likely bring a measure of control to drivers and prevent crashes” said Kane. “Brake overrides should be standard failsafe design on any vehicle with an electronic throttle.”

After ignoring this problem for more than five years and then lying to the public, Toyota appears to finally be doing something, but it doesn’t look like it is doing enough or doing it soon enough.

More than 5 years ago, the Center for Auto Safety identified the electronic throttle control as the most likely source of the sudden acceleration defect. However, Toyota continues to public deny the possibility.

These new fixes may allow the driver to better control a runaway Toyota, and are important steps toward controlling the SUA problem. But Toyota’s latest recall does nothing for owners of problem models excluded from the recall.

Until Toyota finally creates a solution that actually fixes the problem, all Toyota drivers must be prepared. You can learn how to stop your vehicle if it experiences the sudden acceleration problem at this post.

You can learn more about Toyota’s dangerous sudden acceleration defect at our auto safety blog or by visiting our web site.

Learn more and become a fan of Langdon & Emison on Facebook.

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Update: Toyota’s Record Accelerator Recall Surprises Unprepared Dealers

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Update: Toyota Recall: Experts Point To Electronic Throttles; Not Floor Mats In Sudden Acceleration Problem

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10 Comments

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  1. Facebook User says:
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    Are people really so stupid that they cannot apply the brakes when their gas pedal seemingly sticks? There is no car on the planet with so much power in its engine that its brakes cannot stop it.

    Not that Toyota gets a pass on this. Of course, they should fix the underlying problem.

    But people who crash because of this are morons.

    Apply the brakes, take the car out of gear.

    The engine blows up, Toyota pays for it.

    Plus, for all you car enthusiasts, gone forever is heel-and-toe downshifting. Thanks for taking the fun out of driving!

    Nanny state comes to your garage.

  2. Facebook User says:
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    Your comment calling all folks that crash “morons” really steams me. I, unfortunately, have one of these vehicles, which this “moron” crashed. My incident happened in a parking lot and as steamed as I am, I’m glad you didn’t walk out in front of me when it happened. I had less than the area of a parking space to try and stop my vehicle before ramming into another van. The powerful surge of power that threw me back into my seat, moving my foot even further to the left thinking I might be on the gas and finding out that didn’t slow down or stop the van left me with no time to reach for the key or gearshift. Yes…driving down a road a person may have time to stop. But the parking lot scenario doesn’t leave a person much time or space to react. May it never happen to you.

  3. Brett Emison says:
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    Toyota brakes are not powerful enough to stop the vehicle when the engine is surging out of control. After only a few seconds of braking the “brake fade” is so severe that the brakes are completely useless. There is an excellent analysis of this done by consumer reports. You can find this information by reading my post on what to do if your vehicle has a sudden acceleration event.

  4. Brett Emison says:
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    You can find out more about what to do if you have a sudden acceleration event in your vehicle and see the Consumer Reports analysis at my recent blog post: http://kansascity.injuryboard.com/automobile-accidents/toyota-sudden-acceleration-what-to-do-if-it-happens-to-you.aspx?googleid=274116

  5. John D Killian says:
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    Comments on the Toyota electronic throttle.
    Manual shifting into drive, accelerating to a
    given driving speed. Simpley pushing the gear
    shift into nutural should disengauge the
    transmittion. If at a given speed a computer
    glitch happens, doe’s the tramsmittion down shift
    when the throttle moves to full throttle, and
    can the gear shift be moved to nutural when the
    electronic throttle is in the glitch situation?
    I don’t think I would turn the ignition switch
    to the off position to stop a runaway engine when
    the car is in motion, It locks the stering wheel.

  6. mike citrigno says:
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    Seems to me there is a lot of people giving advice about issues they know nothing about. We do not have all the facts and never will.Floormats,electronic throtle controles, cruise controles ect… are being blamed for the acceleration problem but no one questions human error. Why is it that most of the problems are only reported in the USA? Does toyota only sell to the USA? Are vehicle owners in other countries keeping quiet about this problem? What is the average age of the people having these problems?It is easy to blame Toyota,but is it entirely their fault? Faulting toyota and calling people morons is not a solution. I agree you should have controle of your vehicle at all times regardless of the situation, but most people do not have the proper training or knowlege when it comes to their vehicles.If you own one of these vehicles I suggest you follow the manufacturers instructions in opperating your vehicle. I am sure Toyota will rectify the problem,if there is one.

  7. Brett Emison says:
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    Mike Citrigno — I appreciate your comments. I, too, hope someone finally gets to the bottom of this problem. Unfortunately, it seems like Toyota has turned a blind eye to the sudden acceleration defect for far too long.

    More than five years ago, safety groups began notifying Toyota of this deadly problem. Toyota ignored the concerns until a California Highway Patrolman and three other people were killed in a sudden acceleration crash.

    The California Highway Patrol was certainly trained to operate a motor vehicle properly — most likely better than 99% of the general public. Even he could not slow or stop the vehicle when it began to run out of control.

    It’s up to Toyota to finally acknowledge and fix these problems before more innocent drivers and passengers are hurt or killed.

  8. Joe I says:
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    I came accross this article after attempting to research a surging throttle problem with my 2008 Camry with a V6. Usually the car exhibits a slight acceleration when slowing to a stop, then just before stopping completeley the surge stops and I wind up over braking. However, today it surged slightly when I was slowly pulling into my garage.

    I was reading a description of how the electronic throttle system works and its not as simple as following the drivers input at the gas pedal. Apparently, the car’s computer takes readings from a number of different inputs before determining how much throttle to apply. So, I can see how there might be problems with it. I can also understand how someone could panic if the throttle suddenly got stuck wide open.

  9. Jaded45 says:
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    Hmm.. an injury attorney’s blog – no bias there..
    Guess you are waiting for your payday

  10. Brett Emison says:
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    Jaded45,

    I appreciate you having taken the time to read my post. However, I must admit that I am dismayed by your comment.

    You seem to imply that I have a financial stake in letting motorists know about the Toyota sudden acceleration defect or that I somehow invented or made up this problem in an effort to increase my “payday”.

    I wonder what happened in your life that you would hide behind anonymity while making such a libelous statement about someone you have never met and do not know.

    The longstanding and ongoing problems about Toyota’s accelerator defect are well documented and more than 2,100 separate sudden acceleration events have been reported. Safety experts across the country agree that there is something seriously wrong with Toyota accelerators and Consumer Reports has found that Toyota vehicles had nearly half of all sudden acceleration complaints.

    You are correct that I am a trial attorney. I wear that badge proudly. At the top of each post, I have my photo, my name, my telephone and, yes, the fact that I am an attorney. I do not hide behind false names like “Jaded45″.

    I am proud of my work helping real people whose lives have been ruined by tragedy. I am proud that I have helped the families of those who have been injured, paralyzed, maimed, burned and killed – not by any fault of their own – but by the fault of others. I am proud that I take the personal risk and responsibility for giving my clients back just a portion of the life they have lost. None of my clients ever asked for their fate.

    I am proud to be a trial attorney. That fact does not import bias and does not alter the fact that Toyota has a very serious problem with their accelerators that has led to a massive recall of more than 6 million vehilces.

    Thank you, sir, for taking the time to read.