Toyota Dealers Will Inspect Floormats Following Fatal Accident

Toyotabadge Toyota has told all of its dealers to inspect their vehicles for mismatched floormats. It’s believed a floormat caused an accident that killed four people in San Diego County after becoming snagged on the vehicle’s gas pedal.

California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor, 45, his wife, Cleofe, 45, their daughter, Mahala, 13, and Saylor’s brother-in-law, Chris Lastrella, 38, were riding in a 2009 Lexus ES 350 on a state highway near San Diego. The vehicle was loaned by a dealer while the family’s car was being serviced.

Lastrella called police a minute before the crash, saying the accelerator was stuck and the brakes were unresponsive. A voice in the background is overheard telling everyone in the car to hold on and pray, and the call ends with a woman’s scream.

The vehicle was going 120 mph when it hit another SUV, flew off an embankment, rolled and burst into flames. The SUV driver received only moderate injuries.

The all-weather floormats in the ES 350 were found to be slightly longer than the normal ones.

In 2007, Toyota issued a recall for some floormats in Lexus ES 350s and Toyota Camrys after receiving complaints that they could trap the accelerator, but the ’09 Lexus isn’t part of that recall, according to Toyota.

Nevertheless, Toyota will order its network of 1,400 dealers to inspect every new, used and loaner vehicle to ensure that they have the right floormats and are properly secured.

Toyota Orders Floor Mat Inspections After Fatal Crash (USA Today)

By Stephen Markley | September 16, 2009 | Comments (76)
Tags: Lexus, Safety, Toyota

Comments 

J

Not in the defense of Toyota, but the instant response to the situation is NOT to call the police but to try unstuck the carpet/gas pedal, or simply shift the car in neutral than slow down with brakes.

TT

You would think a cop would know what to do. According to the article they had a minute from when they called to when they crashed. In that time I would think you could have put the car in neutral, tried the brakes, tried the parking brake, turn off the engine.

"The driver could have put the car in neutral to disengage the engine from the automatic transmission, Lyons said.

The driver also could have turned off the electronically keyed car by holding down the start switch for three seconds, but that could have locked the steering wheel, turned off the headlights and cut power-assist to the brakes, Lyons said."

Ryan

I'm scared for my wife. I've already told her to just turn the car off if this happens. Sure, it won't instantly slow down, but the engine will be off.
I paid the $30,000+ for her 2006 Highlander, more than a comparable Ford Explorer, Chevy TrailBlazer, etc., because I believed Toyotas to be the best. I mean, not to say that I can't just take the floormats out of her car, but silly, random errors like this are unpredictable and frightening.

Paul

The 3rd and 4th Gen Chrysler minivans have gas pedals far off the floor,and a square plastic block that actually rises your foot to reach the pedal.Great design,of course its a FWD flat floor minivan,and not a typical humped tunnel RWD SUV or car.
The 9-1-1 operator asked them why they couldnt turn the ignition off,and instead of answering back the guy told them they were heading into an intersection and they were praying.
Shutting it off,putting it into neutral and/or locking the parking brake would have made a difference.Guess they dont teach emergency manuevers in drivers ed....
Of course if you are driving a Lexus,you think it drives for itself....such is the hype Toyota has slathered on these things (the media thinks they are wonder cars too,unfortunately).

Noel

Why is it that only Toyota seems to be having these troubles? Do all of there cars have the exact same pedal clearance? Look up Prius and you will see this problem is common with those as well.
Do these cars all have electronically controlled accelerators? I have a feeling there is more of a problem than Toyota is willing to admit. It is much cheaper to pay off a few million dollars to a couple of people than 100's of millions to recall millions of cars and fix them correctly.

This is truly sad when it takes the loss of an entire family's lives before a company will step into to admit they've screwed up. Even more sickening is the fact that I've seen reports of a Sienna doing the same thing (www.carcomplaints.com, don't ask what the specific complaint was - this was a while ago). A mother was turning into her child's school to pick him/her up, and as she was about to brake and make the turn into the drop-off/pick-up location, the brakes failed. Granted, this was nowhere near as tragic as this was - it ended with her slamming into a parked SUV or two in the parking lot.

And to those who say the driver could have reacted differently, or why did the passenger call 911, it's just wasting resources, time, etc...how would YOU react when the only thing going in your system is a constant stream of epinephrine...you don't have enough time to even THINK of a proper response at that stage. The only thing you can do is pray and hope that you can keep proper control of the car until either a) it gets dislodged by itself (you can't reach down with both hands and pull the carpet out at 100 MPH) or b) reduce your speed in some manner. So don't go blaming the victim, that's utter bulls---.

Now here's the kicker - will this get nationwide attention in the same realm as it would if this happened in, say, a vehicle manufactured by Chrysler, Ford or GM?

sheth

Billy:

answer is "no" Just like the story about the lawyer who claimed Toyota destroyed evidence related to roof crush resistance didn't get any play in mainstream media. If Toyota messes up there is ALWAYS an explanation. Toyota doesn't believe in shortcuts or shoddy engineering. To this day many people insist there was no sludge problem and it was all the owner's faults.

J

Billy,
Like I said, the instant response is to cut the engine output to the drive wheels. I am so sorry that I can stay logical when things happen as I am a trained professional. (Also, if a person has ever driven a manual transmission vehicle should know that common sense as well.) Worst offense of all is, there is a highway patrol officer in the vehicle itself. You would think they would be trained to deal with the problem, instead of having someone called the police on the phone, right?

Nath

Ford's internal design guidelines mandate that driver side floormat have a retainer pin that prevents slippage and accelerator functional obstruction. Seriously, the guideline has been in place for nearly a decade.

Too bad they didn't benchmark Ford's safety initiatives.

Mike

I'm really awestruck at how this minor thing amplified into such a gruesome and horrific accident: 120 mph and into flames...jeeze.

The driver could have turned the engine off and I think that would be it. And as for Toyota, if there is really something to admit regarding all the issues, i guess its the right time!

Dave Wuss

The car is accelerating out of control and he finds time to make a phone call? Clearly he's not very bright. You can't tell me he had the time to dial a cell phone yet he didn't have the capacity to think about turning off the car or putting it in neutral. The other people in the car are truly victims of this guy's stupidity.

Juan Carlos

so we know for a fact that going into neutral/park would have made a difference?

Original sheth

very sensitive Dave Wuss. Way to call a deceased man "stupid". Anything but blame the design of the floormats right?

Paul

It was a passenger that made the phone call, not the driver.

Belly

While I don't think that anyone should second guess a person actions in an accident that caused a person's death, let's not jump to too many conclusions right? Like Toyota has this conspiracy going to hide product defects because a floor mat might have caused an accident. Seriously could you reach any further? And it is a USA Today news article, how much further attention should it get? There is nothing to say that the design of the floor mat (yes the design of a floor mat, say this out loud) actually caused the accident.

Honestly, I had a similar situation in a Mazda 626 I used to own. I had put in a set of Sentra floor mats in it and they were pretty long and developed a lump which did hit the accelerating once when I pushed it with my feet.

segfault

I've noticed that the gas pedals in BMWs pivot on the bottom side. A floormat that is an inch or two up on the pedal is unlikely to exert enough leverage to press down on the pedal.

Ziggy

Does anyone know if this was the standard floormat for that vehicle, or was it one from another vehicle or was it an aftermarket one. The standard floormats on my Toyota lock in place so that they don't push forward. However the aftermarket all weather mats are thicker and don't lock in place. Sounds like since this was a loaner car from the dealer that they just threw in whatever floor mat they had lying around and it wasn't the one that normally comes with that car.

Al G.

Toyotas as well as many other makes come equipped with OEM drivers side mats have 2 holes in the front part of the mat that attach to two corresponding hooks (on the floor) that hold the mat into place. Seems to me, like Ziggy alludes to, the car in which this unfortunate accident took place seems to have had either a rug from another vehicle or an OEM mat not properly installed.
In any event those folks in that car lost their lives. That is tragic. This is a lesson learned for me to make sure the rugs are attached properly in any vehicle I drive and, if by chance while driving if the rug gets caught causing the car to accelerate to turn off the engine and put the car in neutral, steer and pray until and after the vehicle comes to a stop.

J

OS, that's not being sensitive or not, it is pointing out facts from emotional evaluations.

J

Jason,
Putting the vehicle in park is even worse.
Imagine your vehicle is going 120mph, all of a sudden the wheels come to a grinding stop. What will happen?
a. The car locks the wheel, but turns into an instant skid.
b. The car flips.

Neither one seems any better than what happened.
Therefore, neutral should be the choice.

M3

Reminds me of the "unintended acceleration" issue that nearly destroyed Audi back in the 1980's. After many years and millions in lawsuits it was determined to be "pedal misapplication" by the drivers. Simply stepping on the gas instead of the brake. Duh. This floormat issue sounds just as bad. Drivers should be aware enough to check if the floor mat is bunched up, and also have the sense to turn off the ignition in a "runaway" situation. As long the key isn't removed you'll still be able to steer and brake to a stop. Not excusing any automaker if they produce a truly defective product, but operator error HAS to be considered!

H

Speculation: Driver was stupid.

Fact: Nobody was in the car and witnessed what went wrong nor what the driver did or did not do.

Fact: Driver did NOT make the phone call.

Fact: Putting an automatic transmission car into park does not lock up the drive mechanism other than putting a mechanical "stop" into the flywheel. That "stop" will shear almost instantly at 120 mph. This is the reason why manufacturers ask that you engage the parking brake instead of relying on "Park" only.

J

Fact: Vehicle has a state trooper on board, and passengers decided to call 911 when there is a trained professional to handle the situation.

Dave Wuss

We're not talking about a Corvette here it was a Lexus ES. How long did it take to accelerate to 120mph! FACT: Long enough where something could have been done. And frankly if you are going to put a trans into Park while going that fast it will blow out the trans completely. Where you get this 'the car will flip', 'go into a skid', is pure speculation at best.

Hey it's ok if you can't call it like it is. The bottom line is driver had at least between 70 & 120mph to do something and he didn't. End of story.

Original sheth

Dave has spoken. Case closed.

segfault

Most modern vehicles will not shift to Park or Reverse at anything higher than crawling speed.

I'm not sure how Toyota's electronic key system works, but on a newer car with a standard ignition key, you can turn off the car in Drive (but the key won't come out of the ignition, nor will the steering wheel lock).

J

I had a VW Golf a long time a go with a stuck accelerator... I just put the car in nuetral and pulled the parking brake. Maybe the people were so panicked they couldn't think. I'm no expert, but I still think the car could have been shifted into nuetral while its still on becuase I've done it several times in my BMW and have to think for a sec on why the car won't accelerate. You would think you would do anything you could have thought of to shut the car down, but I wasnt there.

.

Maybe it was prayer that failed.

Derrick G

I still have to admit that I'm stunned that with three adults in the car, no one thought to put it in neutral, especially with one a trained professional. My throttle stuck once due to a frayed cable. At first I was a tad startled because I'd floored it to pull into traffic. But I quickly thought to shift to neutral. True, it was an '81 Reliant 2.2, but the brakes weren't holding it very well.

As far as not being able to shift into neutral at speed, I've never seen such. Some cars might require a button be pushed same as going into reverse, but most will go right into neutral just for this reason.

Finally, after looking at some pictures of Toyota pedals and looking at the one in my Sonata, I think part of the problem is the pedal is too low in some Toyotas, making them more prone to getting caught. Trouble in my car is, it's high enough that sometimes my foot slips off the bottom end of it when going from the brake to it in a hurry. I think the solution is as segfault mentioned: bottom pivot pedals. I know the new Sonata as well as the Genesis have that so I'd imagine it'll filter into many cars other than BMW's.

J

H,
Fact: The driver DID make the phone call. Read the article please.

Dave,

I have to admit the skid is a speculation, however that is based on known situtations.
Putting the transmission into park while in high speed motion will definitely interrupt the vehicle's moving motion. The disruption shall be similar to locking the vehicle's tires while the vehicle is traveling at high speed. Imagine, going 100mph and pulled the parking brake handle and release it in a split second. It should induce a skid of the vehicle due to the fact that it made the tires lose traction immediately.
The flip suggestion is made when considering if the transmission could really lock the flywheel, then the vehicle's forward momentum should still want to push the vehicle forward. The vehicle is a FWD, so it is not hard to imagine it to flip forward when that happens.
But again, I would not even want to try it out myself, because I would put the vehicle in neutral without a single thought if that happens to me.

Bob Wilson

We had one Prius owner who reported 'run away' acceleration and stayed in the thread long enough to let us understand what was going on. A unique individual, they understood the need to diagnose the problem and claimed it had happened twice. But one of their photos of the driver area clearly showed a rubber, "all weather mat."

They absolutely claimed the mat was not involved in their two incidents. Not being there, I can't say. But eventually they bought another car and moved on.

When I bought my Prius, the floor mats anchors were missing. I went back, got them, installed them and was good to go. So the hypothesis that there is a floor mat problem seems plausible. Regardless, we have two Prius and are not about to dump them.

The other point is the 'drive by wire' systems still seem to baffle my wife. I go out of my way to find out what works and doesn't so I'm more likely to 'do the right thing' because I've tested it in the past. But my wife is not so analytical and she could easily be confused by how to 'shift into neutral' or 'hold the Power button for 3 seconds.' These are different skills from the cars she first learned to drive nearly 50 years ago.

I'm not too terribly worried about this impacting Prius sales. Toyota has sold every 2010 that arrived, over 18,000 in August and nearly 20,000 in July. Prius sales are still production, not buyer limited. If someone declares they won't buy one, good deal, there are plenty of buyers who are all but standing inline to take their place.

H

J,

Excerpt from San Diego Union-Tribune article:

Hill said investigators are studying the burned Lexus, witness accounts, evidence from the crash scene and a 911 call made by back seat passenger Lastrella who reported that the car's accelerator was stuck and they could not stop. A full report should be complete in a few weeks, he said.

The car was northbound at about 120 mph on state Route 125 about 6:30 p.m., Hill said, when it entered a T-intersection with Mission Gorge Road. It clipped the rear corner of a Ford Explorer and then plowed over a curb and through a fence before hitting an embankment and going airborne. It rolled several times and then burst into flames.

Hill thinks Mark Saylor, who was driving, started to experience problems with the accelerator sometime before he reached the Route 125 and Interstate 8 intersection, which is about five miles from Mission Gorge Road. Several people called to report that the car was seen speeding and weaving in and out of lanes with its emergency flashers on.

It was a matter of minutes between when the problem started and when the car ran off the road, Hill said, and Saylor had to make a “split-second decision” to head straight into the intersection rather than to take the state Route 52 curve.

Investigators do not know if Saylor tried to shift the car into neutral or if he tried to shut off the engine.

Original sheth

Why are so many people trying to blame the driver? its hard to think rationally when your car is going 120mph and you're headed off the highway. It's not like people practice emergency stopping procedures in out of control cars.

J

OS, because unlike you, who is just here to bash "foreign" automakers, are actually thinking logically.
If you have not been practicing controlling your own vehicle, I pray for your neighborhood and curse upon your driver's ed instructor.
It takes a pretty long time to accelerate to that speed.
Motor Trend has tested it and the result of a quarter mile was 14.9 seconds @ 96 mph. (And it takes 16.1 seconds to reach 100 mph from a dead stop.
Car and Driver tested its 0-130 mph @ 29.2 seconds
Pretty long time to think about keeping the vehicle under control.

noub mcgee

neutral is the only good answer, park will just break off the arm locking into park and continue turning. Too much force...

Learn how the gearshift works before moving.

Original sheth

J:

Common sense isn't your strong suit but I would presume that they didnt accelerate to 120 from a dead stop so your quotes of quarter mile times are uselss. How do you know they weren't going 75mph when the problem started?

My driver's test didn't include steering and stopping a vehicle with a stuck accelerator pedal at 100+ mph. Your state may vary. Who knew that was a critical skill for drivers? I learn something new every day thanks to your genius.

Ziggy

I has drivers ed 30 years ago and i remember covering brake failure and stuck accelerators. Maybe they don't teach it anymore.

J

OS, California's legal speed limit at rural area is 70mph. Going 75 is already their own fault.
Then, you see the acceleration times are slower as speed goes up. They should still have adequate time to think up with a solution when they have a State trooper ON BOARD!
You're welcome that you learn something called common sense today.

H

You can blast the driver all you want (you know the one who didn't make the phone call) but why? He and his family are dead and no amount of shoulda, coulda, woulda is going to change what happened. Grow up and show some respect to the deceased.

Original sheth

Amazing how so many can comment on what should've happened when they werent there and never faced a similar situation. I'm pretty sure this guy tried to slow the car in some fashion.

J

H & OS,

The dead are not completely victims.
They are dead because of their lack of ability to judge what to do.
Respect are not asked to be given as they shall be given as seen fit.

Belly

"Grow up and show some respect to the deceased."
-Seriously you do the same Shet. Stop trying to take this event and use it as a smear campaign against Toyota.

"Amazing how so many can comment on what should've happened when they werent there and never faced a similar situation."
-Isn't that exactly what you are doing? Yeah, that's right you are this site's ultimate hypocrite.

ThinkerDude

It is scary that something so trivial like a floor mat can cause a huge accident.

And it is also scary some of the comments blaming the victims as if they were guilty of being scared in a car out of control... I guess 90% of the writers here are rally drivers.

And it is scary that some people don't know anything about Science and how a car is going to react in that case, specially a conventional sedan.

And by the way, I think is kind of strange that the floormat can do that, specially thinking that the driver is going to move a lot his feet trying to get a response from the brakes.. maybe they should check the engine.

Interesting that Toyota recalled some of their other models for brake failures a couple days before this accident happened!

http://www.usatoday.com/money/autos/2009-08-26-toyota-corolla-scion-recall_N.htm?obref=obinsite

Sorry for the victims, but it sounds in part like inadequate driver training, which is par for the course in California for the last 20-30 years, since Driver Ed was dropped from many high school curricula for reasons of cost.

Fortunately, this isn't the case yet with aviation training, where fixed wing pilots have a 5-10 seconds to react and rotorcraft pilots have 1-2 seconds to react in the event of an engine failure, and there are programs for recurrent proficiency training in place. Maybe we need something similar for motorists.

@ThinkerDude -- a similar hazard can be created by other "trivial" things, such as cats and small dogs that think it's "cozy" to curl up at the driver's feet, as well as soda bottles and other loose debris on the floor of the passenger compartment. Floor mats are just another piece of debris, unless they're secured to prevent them from creeping forward under the pedals.

It's the driver's responsibility before getting underway to make sure the controls are free of obstructions that could jam them and make them inoperable.

starobin

I wonder what about toyota avalon 2000? DO we have the same problems too? I am thinking on just to throw away my floor mat from the driver place. By the way, did anyone offer or think just NOT TO USE floor-mates at all? what is a problem not to use them at all? Why do we need them? I don't care about aesthetics,I need safe car, this is #1 priority for me !!!!!!!!!!!

THIS WAS NOT A FLOOR MAT! ARE YOU PEOPLE REALLY BUYING THAT RUSE???

The Lexus ES is a computer-controlled drive by wire car. YOU CANNOT PUT IT IN PARK OR NEUTRAL OR TURN IT OFF UNLESS THE COMPUTER LETS YOU.

Think about it. A CHP officer has plenty of cool in emergency situations and knows how to drive. THIS WAS NOT A FLOOR MAT. That makes no sense.

This was a computer software crash on the on-board computer. All the controls became useless (can't switch to neutral, can't turn off). The brakes burned up trying to slow down the 273 hp Lexus and that was it.

Quit calling the officer stupid! TOYOTA LEXUS ES IS A DEATH TRAP!!

T

I think alll of you who are just bashing this family / driver. Needs to get a damn life! You weren't in the car. All that is known is a minute conversation and a dealer claiming it's the floor mats. No one has any idea what the driver tried to do or didn't do. So the only stupid idiot is you, not the driver! May god rest their souls! Grow up, you must be a lonely, pathetic loser to be bashing a person that died. Does it really matter what you think he should have done or what you THINK he didn't try to? He's dead, say a prayer for their families and call it a day buddy. Doesn't it bother you at all that their families may be reading all of this trash you people are saying, YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT HAPPENED OR WHAT EVEN CAUSED THE DAMN ACCIDENT. Have some respect.

Stan

This is a terrible story. Very, very sad...

Mike

Maybe all vehicles should be mandated to have manual transmissions, that way a driver could just push in the clutch if the floormat stuck, and we could weed out the people that are not cordinated enough to drive.
Seriously though, the drive made a huge error bu not shutting off the car or putting it into neutral.

This happened to me. It was terrifying.
I tried braking, but the car engine of course was so much stronger, the brakes didn't have any effect at slowing the car. I was standing up, holding onto the wheel with one hand, putting all my weight on the brakes with both feet, and all I succeeded in doing was laying rubber, the tires smoking and squealing.

It was a miracle with all the adrenaline, smoke, noise and the car barely in control that I thought to throw it into neutral. I had no idea what would happen, but prayed quick, and flipped the lever. It worked!!!

I'm alive today to tell you putting it in neutral works.

Hoping you all stay safe!

btw YouTube has a good talk by Dr. William Dement (Sleep expert), who shows early on in his talk what happens when a sleepy driver has a microsleep episode at the wheel.

denis

brake pedal will work no matter if gas pedal is stock do to floor mats pushing down on it or computer malfuncton, the only time brakes would not work is if: same floor mat is both pusshing on accel pedal, and stock underneath brake pedal, making it not push all the way down, another example is if your accl pedal stock and you keep pressing brakes for a long period of time, they will heat up to the point where they wont work ( brake fade). the only best option in that case is to put trans. gear into neutral possition and let vehice bounce of rev limiter, while trying to apply brake and or "parking brake" till coming to safe stop. even in the worst case if the engine does over rev and blow it will not cause harm to passengers. turning ignition of on new toyota and lexus models with keyless start/stop buttons, can be tricky if not knowing how, driver in case of emerg. has to press and hold on/off button for 3 second for system to turn off if vehic. is going at speed above 5mph, and will cause steering to most lickly lock making vehicle unable to steer, and if you in that case want it to unlock, have to press on/off button again while not applying brake pedal( that will cause the accessories to only work with out turning enine back on) makin steering wheel unclock and steer the veh. note: steering will feel harder to steer and require more force when engine if off

John

J, You obviously have no experience with automatic transmissions. A moving car will not "go into park". The gear is spinning too fast for the park pall to insert itself into the hole in the gear. At any speed over 3 or 4 mph, park will essentially act the same as neutral, but with a horrible grinding noise like a huge metal baseball card in the spokes of a bike wheel.

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Justin

ok...to all of you who carrelessly drive your vehicles...every single time you sit in your car and turn the key, you are starting up a near or over 4000 pound weapon of death. you can take a life in an instant with a car, but perhaps some have forgotten. if you do not have the presence of mind to know how to control your vehicle in an emergency situation than YOU SHOULD NOT BE DRIVING period. what does the law say ignorance is no excuse and in this case it was pure ignorance on the drivers part of not knowing what to do in an emergency situation. no, brakes will not slow the vehicle down when stuck at full throttle, no park will not engage and lock the wheels, although will disengage the drive wheels from the engine, but neutral IS THE CORRECT CHOICE. i am a toyota technician and ill assure all of you that regardless of how many computers are in the car, all the non hybrids have a mechanical shift linkage for the automatics and will go into neutral at any time, any speed for any reason without causing any negative reprocussions on hte car, it will simply ping rev limiter till you shut it off. my point? driving is not a right, its a privilege to those who know how to properly operate a vehicle in ALL conditions...if you cant well than you shouldnt be driving, i know i wont want to be on the road next to someone who can at any point lose control and not know what to do

p

Okay, do some research, have you seen the shifter on this thing...

http://www.lexus.com/lexus-share/images/gallery/models/ES/photos/interior/g_int5.jpg

Apparently if you are in 4th gear and try to shift into neutral, you just go into the next gear, and have to shift it down 3 more times to get neutral. Ofcourse the driver tried to shift to neutral! Go into his mind for a moment...it was a loner from the dealer...and the accelerator is stuck, you are weaving in and out of traffic and trying to figure out how to shut the damn engine off, which is a push button and will not shut off in gear unless held for three solid seconds! You realize something is terribly wrong with the car, it has a computer, and it is seemingly NOT shifting into neutral every time you try- quickly looking down at that confusing (and new to you) shifter...and as you desperately try to keep your family alive at 100+mph.

This is a tragic design flaw in a tragic situation.

I pray for those 4 souls. Stop blaming the driver!!

Ron

In the driver's defense: I was driving an AMC Hornet in the Cascade Mountains in Washington State in 1990, when after accelerating up a high mountain pass,the throttle got stuck! The next thing I knew, I WAS HEADING DOWN A STEEP MOUNTAIN PASS DOING 70+ MPH WITH A STUCK ACCELERATOR! Have you ever bailed out of a burning plane?! It's hard to think clearly in a situation where every part of your being is absorbed in keeping control of an unexpected 70 mph descent down a narrow, winding, mountain pass! After several moments of frantic driving,trying to keep in control around steep curves, I finally thought to throw the car out of gear. This left the motor screaming wide open!!! I needed the power steering and power brakes to steer and stop! killing the engine was not an option, but unlike the Trooper, I had good breaks that gave me a little time to react to the stuck accelerator! Also, there was no traffic. I was very lucky!
Upon opening the hood, I discovered that a rubber vacuum hose had broken off and lodged between the accelerator rod and the intake manifold, putting the rod in a bind. After I cleared away the vacuum hose, the car ran fine, but those precious few seconds while at the wheel of a run away car are not as uncluttered with chaotic thought as the moments you spend reading about someone else in your easy chair. It could have happened to anyone! I remember spending several moments in reflection, after the incident - thinking of several different ways to stop the car, but none of those options presented themselves at the time!

It happened to me too on the 101 freeway going back to Hollywood from the valley. My friend had just bought this old Volvo and asked me to bring it back to his place while he was driving his other car. The brakes did not work either and the road was quite busy. I got it in neutral and was able to stop it on the emergency lane with the hand brake. Scary! It turned out this car had been in an accident and was a real wreck. I don't know if I could have done the same thing with a computer driven car. Toyota or any other brands, for that matter.

retiredat44

these people are dumber than rocks! can't even turn turn a key.. or move the shifter... Darwin!!!!!!

a travisty is paying them money for them being morons!

this truly is a horrible tragedy

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Computers themselves, and software yet to be developed, will revolutionize the way we learn.
verhuizen uithoorn

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