Fix Automobile Sudden Acceleration
ABS Brakes - The Stealth Killer

ABS Brakes


Why do we have ABS Bake Technology

Automotive braking made significant improvements over the decades - from hand brakes, hydraulic brakes, to power brakes. Each advance was to give better and safer ability to control stopping a car, even by smaller and weaker drivers. The power brake performance became so good, anyone could lock the wheels trying to stop the car, especially in a panic stop. With the wheels locked, the driver loses control and steering performance creating a major hazard.  The amount of force needed to lock the wheels varies greatly depending on many factors such as tire tread and the road surface conditions. The diagram below represents the relative braking force that can be put on the brake pedal before the wheels lock. For icy roads, the brake force to cause a skid is much lower than on a dry cement road. The Red line shows where the wheel enters a locked state and the car will go into an uncontrolled skid.
 
 
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ABS Brakes

ABS Brakes were invented to sense when a tire's rotation enters the locked state. This is shown on the above diagram by point "B" The ABS Brake must sense when the wheel stops turning based on pushing the brake too hard or by holding the brake pressure constant and the road surface resistance changes, To prevent disastrous uncontrolled crashes, the electronics releases the braking force so the wheel can turn, regaining road contact and control even though the driver is pressing the brake so hard the wheel would normally be in a locked state. Prior to the ABS Brake, the driver learned to "pump" the brakes to regain control. The electronic module can sense and react in millisecond timing while a driver's response was in seconds. This better reponse to a skidding situation logicly expects a better and safer system.

My experience with failed ABS Brakes was on dry concrete roads with no thought that there would be any problem stopping. The relative situation could be represented by point "A" on the graph above. Why should the ABS brakes have any problem in such a simple situation. I guess this type fail mode is what happens when cars fail in parking lots.  If the ABS Brakes will fail at such a nominal spot, how many fail when they sense the skidding situation and are supposed to function!

The airbag system was put in cars roughly the same time. The airbag system is much less complex than the sensors and calculations required in ABS Brakes. When an airbag fails, either by deploying prematurely while a driver is driving (not in an accident) or by failing to deploy when it should in an accident , it is easy to recognize and document the failure. When an ABS Brake fails, the driver is blamed for the accident. The ABS Brakes, while much more complex than airbags, have relatively few documented failure issues compared to airbags.

Several studies of cars with / without ABS Brakes never showed the expected reduction in vehicle crashes or deaths. Even without achieving the expected safety metrics, ABS Brakes are now standard equipment in all cars and light trucks. While it is easy to show that the ABS Brake systems improve driver control in fast braking and should reduce accidents and deaths, studies fail to identify the added danger when the ABS Brake system fails and creates a new danger not experienced before. This new failure in many cases is far more disasterous than what was possible with the power brake locking up. This new fail mode is sudden (unintended) acceleration which NHTSA and car manufacturers have spent over two decades trying to find (or possibly cover up the issue). NHTSA has conducted many defect Investigations on cruise controls, ECU modules, Floor mats, and ETC modules and always returns to blaming the driver. To account for the accidents caused by defective ABS brakes, a continuous flow of Distracted Driver issues are created by NHTSA after studies determine which issues the public will support and can be made law.

Even if the public supports a Distracted Driver (DD) law,  the problem causing the accidents (root cause),  the ABS brakes, is not addressed. So after the DD law is passed and does not reduce accidents, NHTSA can come up with another study and another DD law that does not work.

I suspect there are unintended consequences of ABS Brakes.  Neighborhoods across the US have installed speed bumbs in streets to slow down drivers and make the neighborhood safer. I believe the speed bumps can activate the ABS fail mode and cause a DDI or SCI event. An SCI event will result in damage to parked cars and possibly the car running into a house. This unintended sequence may also happen in emergency lanes on highways where bumps are installed as a way to define the emergency lane and keep cars off. I believe they also activate the ABS Brake fail mode so people pulling over to help the stranded car, end up crashing into the car instead. Emergency vehicles, like wreckers, end up compounding the crash scene.

After three decades (since the ABS Brake was introduced) NHTSA does not even know which module to look into, to solve the SA problem and has not acted on my repeated inputs of ABS Brake failure because it does not sound logical.

Sudden Acceleration caused by ABS Brake failure  -  "This is not logical"

This statement seems universal for automotive experts and is the reason so much time and so many studies have failed to solve the SA issue. When the ABS Brake fails the brake pedal goes to the floor with no slowing force on the car. The driver can not stop the car, only steer until the car stops or runs into something. Since this is caused by electronics, there is no warning when this may occur and the driver can not prevent it by good car maintenance. Therefore, innocent drivers are convicted for accidents, the driver has no control over preventing.

The ABS Brake failure causes two types of accidents-

1) Distracted Driver Incident   (DDI) when the foot is only on the brake and the brake fails
2) Spectacular Crash Incident  (SCI)  when the foot is on the brake and also over the accelerator pedal -    this causes sudden (unintended) acceleration which has alluded NHTSA and experts for decades.


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