Runaway Toyotas and other stuff...

Discussion in 'Legal and Activism' started by canebrake, Mar 10, 2010.

  1. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    This is an email I received from a good friend and retired Chrysler Exec.

    Alas we have now come to this...

    I read the news story on the latest runaway Toyota...this time a Prius...

    The guy stepped on the loud pedal to pass another car, but then it wouldn't slow down when he released the pedal...

    He reached down and tried to pull the pedal back with his hand, but it wouldn't come back...

    He then did what every driver has been taught (not) call 911 on your cellphone!

    Of course as the car is ""rocketing down the highway", the cops tell him to put it in Neutral! (DUH)

    He replies, NO, I might flip over...(ok you got me here...why did he think that might happen?)

    23 minutes after he calls 911, the cops finally get him to put on both the service brakes and parking brake (had to tell him what and where) to bring the car to a stop..

    Then they tell him to turn the key off (the engine stops)...obviously there was a mistaken identity here, the guy was clearly a passenger, not the driver/operator of the vehicle

    This is second only to the police officer in California whose Lexus SUV crashed after a long ride with him on the cellphone asking
    for help since he too couldn't stop the car....(neutral anyone?, key-off anyone?, hand/parking/emergency brake?) apparently all in that car died in the crash

    While all this is tragic to be sure, and things do go wrong with mechanical and electrical devices, what ever happened to common sense, and the requirement that you take responsibility for your decisions, especially when operating a vehicle?

    I recall in driver's ed (way back in the early 1960's), it was drilled into us that the automobile is a large, powerful machine which we were being trained to respect and learn to control...

    We were told that driving is a full-time job and MAJOR Responsibility came with the privilege of a driver's license.

    First thing we learned was to remove all distractions before we started the car...then set the seat, check the mirrors, be sure we were familiar with all the controls (including the shifter and ignition key) as not all cars were the same even then...all this before we were allowed to start the engine.

    That class included knowing how to maintain the car to keep it safe, check tire pressures, evaluate brakes and steering controls. We had to parallel park, and learn how to change a tire. We had to drive in rain and on snow and ice and were evaluated on how we reacted when things did not go as planned....we regularly ventured out onto real streets with real traffic as part of our classes. (we also learned hand signals...not the single digit one)

    While we didn't have to learn to deal with a stuck accelerator pedal, we were told that things can go wrong and we accepted responsibilty for control of the vehicle once we got behind the wheel.

    We were told that Neutral is acceptable in an emergency, as is turning the key off (and thus the engine), use of the emergency brake (as it was called then) was also taught.

    In todays' world, apparently a driver's license is a right (along with a cellphone and the right to use it anywhere) and responsibility is something for others....now most driving training is on simulators, and many state tests give credit for simulator time as opposed to real "seat time" in a vehicle. The push is on to pump lots of new drivers into the system rather than screen out those that need to work on their attitudes and skills.

    (here comes "back in the day")
    Back when I was taught, licenses were hard to come by...the written and driving tests were tough.
    In Baltimore (where I was tested) they had a 50+% first-time fail rate on testing for new drivers. You could return in 30 days for a re-test after remedial training. Some took 3 or more times to get it right...you could fail to get a license if you didn't measure up, it wasn't a right or guaranteed. First you had to pass the written test (like a high school exam, not a 10-15 question True/False)..if that was a passing grade you go to the driving test.
    The State Police Officer who accompanied you on your test drive looked as much at your degree of engagement in the task of driving as he did on your performance on a series of vehicle operation challenges (on a course mimicking city streets complete with other "student being tested" traffic)....
    IF you didn't wash out on the driving course, (most of the first-time failures happened in this phase) you took a trip on the expressway and in real city traffic to gage your ability to react to a variety of real-world situations.

    Drivers today don't seem to know much beyond that there are two pedals (Go and Stop). God forbid there is a third pedal to learn about (clutch which also removes the engine from the "go "equation) maybe cars have become too much like living rooms with easy chairs for the driver?. Most never use or know about the Parking/Emergency Brake/Hand Brake...They may or may not be taught about the particular controls in the car they are driving...

    "Stab it and steer it" seems to be the way most learn to drive now..brakes are only for emergencies, beyond that, call 911, if you aren't too busy on your phone texting or telling your friends "OMG you won't believe what is happening!"

    As you can tell, I am more than a bit frosted.
    Folks insist on all the rights but none of the responsibilities.
    Many don't belong on the road, cannot begin to control their cars even in non-emergencies, and if something happens...whose fault is it? Not theirs!

    No matter where I have driven, in many states, I cannot help but observe people in cars behind the wheel but just "along for the ride", totally clueless...accidents waiting for their time. (Yes I was taught defensive driving)

    As for Toyota's problems, we have been down this road before several times.

    In the early 1960's GM cars had engine mounts where the rubber fatiqued and when they separated, the engine "rolled" to the right under any acceleration....the carb linkage was bolted to the firewall and when the engine rolled, the throttle went wide open...this often caused the trans linkage to bind since it was also connected to the throttle...talk about a wild ride! Almost impossible to shift to Neutral since the linkage was bound up...the only way to stop it was the ignition key.

    My dad's 1960 Pontiac did this, and we had to drive it to the dealer with the key on/off to get the temporary fix - a cable through the mount and around the frame, until they could make mounts with a mechanical interlock in case of rubber failure. Back then drivers were an integral part of the vehiclde...this truly was a mechanical durability issue where the company had a problem but there was no national cry for a lynching, just a resolve to get things fixed and get on with it.

    In later years, Audi had problems with "unintended acceleration" they foolishly suggested that the drivers were not pressing the brake, but the gas...ergonomics of various cars differed and while this was the problem, the car company took it on the chin for suggesting folks had a responsibility when driving a car. Now all cars have a shift/brake interlock so the lowest common denominator can pilot a couple thousand pounds of steel without ever engaging their mind....

    Who knows if Toyota's issue is mechanical (binding in the gas pedal mechanism), or more than that?
    The witch hunt will continue to find who to blame.
    One thing is for sure, nobody is looking to see if the "drivers" could have done anything to prevent the collateral damage once a problem occurred.

    I just finished a boating class...the rule (the law) on the water is "the operator of the craft is responsible for the craft and all its occupants, no matter what happens!".

    Too bad we have lost our way on the roads.
     
  2. Car54

    Car54 New Member

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    Cane, I had a 67 Chev Impala that broke motor mounts twice. Same thing on turns the mount broke the car accelerated and you needed sheer foot power on the brakes and turning the key off at the same time. Both times I ended up stopped in the middle of intersections blocking traffic.

    You are right, there a many drivers on the roads that have no clue what to do in an emergency situation. I think that over the years, self responsibility has taken a back seat and common sense has become a thing of the past.

    You wait, with all the hub-bub about the Toyota's, everyone who has had any type of crash is going to blame it on Toyota. Some may be legit, but many are going to blame the car company for their own faults.
     

  3. orangello

    orangello New Member

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    Back in the 1980's, our driver's ed. teacher taught us that if the accelerator stuck we were to stomp the living shat out of it, push the clutch and/or shift to neutral, and turn the key off without locking the steering wheel. Even my addled brain managed to retain that bit of info.

    I will say that it was my understanding the Prius in this recent incident did not have a key but did have a push button start that could be turned off by simply holding the button down for a couple of seconds.

    This driver is an embarassment to his country and his species, IMO. He should be stripped of his driving PRIVILEDGES permanently & issued a Bus Pass & Dunce cap.

    There is no telling what Uncle Nannystate will legislate now. :rolleyes: Us children have already had airbags mandated, seatbelt use mandated, and tire pressure monitoring systems mandated (most vehicles). I remain unable to fathom the depths of the idiocy that generates much of our federal legislation. Soon, we will have warning signs on our toilet paper.
     
  4. mpd8488

    mpd8488 New Member

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    Everyone should be required to demonstrate proficiency in driving a manual transmission to obtain a license. That would take care of many of these problems. I generally trust any driver that can drive stick and I am happy to teach anybody that wants to learn.
     
  5. Highpower

    Highpower New Member

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    Boy oh boy, the stories I could tell.... :rolleyes:

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7EFjpFaVlU]YouTube - Stupid 911 call, dumb woman locked in her own car[/ame]
     
  6. Bigcountry02

    Bigcountry02 Coffee! If your not shaking, you need another cup Supporter

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    The Toyotas Pirus gas pedal issue is climbing wtih compliants. Spectulation is that the black box is the issue; however, the top engineers are troubleshooting the issue.

    We are just going to wait and see. Yahoo is reporting sales and re-sale value is dropping on Toyotas as we sit and drinking fine tasty beverage!
     
  7. alsaqr

    alsaqr Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Survey after survey of public restrooms has shown that almost 40 percent of folks living in the US do not have enough sense to wash their hands after using the crapper. How in hades are these folks supposed to think to put the car in neutral or shut off the ignition switch?
     
  8. AcidFlashGordon

    AcidFlashGordon New Member

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    This is exactly what the 911 operator told the guy. It's clear as a bell on the released 911 tape during the "incident." She obviously knew more about the Prius than the driver/owner did.

    As for his comment about flipping if he put it into neutral, who but God knows where the hell he got that idea from. While I was listening to the tape on the news yesterday, several solutions came to my mind:

    Turn off the engine
    Put it in neutral
    Downshift (I'm assuming that a Prius has similar Drive options on their shifter)

    Obviously, this driver proves what I've always thought.....

    Stupid people shouldn't breed.


    And before anyone jumps, I have been in a similar situation. I was driving my Father's S-10 pickup and a piece of the air cleaner broke off and jammed the carburetor linkage full open. As the truck started speeding up, I put my foot on the brake pedal, turned off the engine and pulled to the curb and stopped.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2010
  9. alsaqr

    alsaqr Well-Known Member Supporter

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  10. Megaton

    Megaton New Member

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    Neutral will make you flip :confused:
     
  11. deth502

    deth502 New Member

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    while i agree most drivers are incapable of actually driving, i have to disagree with the insinuation that toyota is getting an undeserved bum wrap on this.

    the fact is, these werent the first complaints on this, it has been an ongoing problem. other car companies you mention ACTUALY DID SOMETHING about the problems.

    toyota seemed to think the appropriate action was to look the other way, and pretend nothing was happening. only when their reputation was swirling the bowl from their arrogance in denying everything did they think to try to remedy the situation.
     
  12. Gatekeeper

    Gatekeeper New Member

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    He was probably thinking about jamming it into "Park"
    No it shouldn't make you flip either:rolleyes:

    Ive had clutch linkages fall out, throttle return springs break (I now use dual springs), driveshafts break, etc.
    If people would just use their heads and NOT panic
     
  13. Car54

    Car54 New Member

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    I don't think there is an insuation about Toyota getting a bum rap. They deserve everything they get for not acting on a known problem. FoMoCo had a problem with the early to mid 80's T-birds and Lincolns doing the same thing and never acted on it either. Somehow they escaped the wrath of the owners and government. As long as manufacturers can get away from spending money, I think most will try to avoid dealing with problems until they are pegged to the wall and forced to act as Toyota is now.

    I think what everyone here is getting at, is the incompetence of drivers lacking the knowlege to act properly in an emergency situation. Really, if you were in the situation of a car speeding in an uncontrollable fashion, would your first thought be to call 911? That guy had to be one in more than several million who would even think about it let alone calling in that situation. Neutral, move to side of road (if possible & safely), brake, key off, or neutral, move to side of road, key off, brake.

    As I stated in my earlier post that people are going to go back on previous traffic crashes and try to blame Toyota when it was something that they did wrong and were at fault, has now been reported in the newspapers that in fact, this has started to happen.
     
  14. carloglock19

    carloglock19 New Member

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    My last 4 vehicles have been Toyotas and currently own a 08 Camry SE I took it in to get the pedal fixed as part of the recall program they have going on they reshaped the pedal and changed a part I cant recall what at the momment. I was really dissapointed since I have been buying from them because I felt (my oppinion) they made quality/reliable cars this is the first one I had a recall on and was a little worried about my pedal getting stuck and what I would do to stop the car. I feel they dropped the ball on this one now they are paying for it.
     
  15. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

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    Few Americans have any mechanical aptitude at all. They have no concept of how an internal combustion engine works, nor do they care to learn. How can we expect someone to stop a runaway car when they are clueless on how it works?

    My daughters had to endure MY driving course before they went to Driver's Ed. They can change a flat, change the oil, check all fluids, parallel park, properly attach jumber cables, change a fuse, wash and wax...oh wait, that one did not work, I had to wash and wax it myself. When they got into driver's Ed., they knew all the answers to the instructor's questions. The classroom was just a refresher. When my step-son took his motorcycle operators course, he had already been riding through the neighborhood and getting pointers from me. He was the "teacher's pet" because he had a clue.
     
  16. orangello

    orangello New Member

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    ^^^ Nice fathering there Robo; my Dad put me in a VW bug in the middle of a damp hayfield & explained what the clutch did (at age 9) & then shut the door wishing me luck. I had already "driven" the tractor.

    I still miss that car though.
     
  17. Hey-you-guys

    Hey-you-guys New Member

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    The thing about having to change a tire should still be a requirement. Also, too many people get into mundane fender benders and block the freeways waiting for the police to get there, instead of pulling to the shoulder where it is safer and more courteous to other people on the road.
    As far as people not knowing about cars, my friend works at a Hyundai dealership and gets people in there all the time that have no idea what it takes to even maintain a vehicle. One guy came in who hadn't changed the oil since he bought the car brand new. It had over 40,000 miles on it without an oil change and in turn fried both of his catalytic converters and maybe his O2 sensors.
    I learned to drive when I was 12, by myself, in a stick shift nonetheless, just in case my dad's diabetes got bad and he needed to go to the hospital.
     
  18. Bigcountry02

    Bigcountry02 Coffee! If your not shaking, you need another cup Supporter

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    When I lived in the dorms in Germany, years ago in the mid to late 80's. A certain individual purchased this specifc Dodge Charger (new), body the same as the Dodge Shelby Charger. It was dirty :eek:, also, he did not change the original oil until over 80,000 plus miles. At that time I felt sorry for the poor car, to have to endure the neglect and abuse! The car had issues, do not remember!