Fix Automobile Sudden Acceleration
ABS Brakes - The Stealth Killer

Toyota


Saylor Crash - Spectacular Crash Incident (SCI)

A horrible day in August, 2009, the Saylor family was driving a Lexus on a San Diego freeway when the car went into  sudden acceleration. As explained in this website, the ABS Brakes failed and the brake pedal went to the floor and the foot was also over the accelerator. As the driver knew his foot was on the brake he pressed harder as the car sped up. The Lexus has a powerful engine of almost 400 HP (twice the normal car) so it was traveling over 100 MPH very quickly with the foot holding the accelerator on the floor.  The resulting crash was so powerful that little was recognizable of what remained of the car. The last words in a cell phone call from the car was "There's no brakes..." Every "automotive expert" has come up with an extensive list of causes for the crash and dismiss the most accurate statement of the cause of the crash - "THE BRAKES DON'T WORK"

Dismissing the actual cause of the crash, automotive experts, investigators, news writers, lawyers, and everyone else has focused on the wrong causes. This investigation could make a great Comedy of Errors if it were not so serious. The only benefactors are the lawyers stuffing their pockets, and no one still has a path to solve the problem.

The Saylor crash caused a public outcry for something to be done. Toyota's reputation was on the line and news reporters were writing all sorts of stories for the causes that needed to be fixed and airing perceived grudges against Toyota. But none focused on the real problem.


Toyota Floor Mat Recall      November 2, 2009

I don't know when the Floor Mat entrapment was first used, but it was already accepted by the public in other failures. NHTSA and Toyota announce the recall 11/2/2009 to pacify the public that something was being done.

I sent an email to NHTSA on 11/4/2009 explaining that the Floor Mat Recall was Bogus and explained (again) the sudden acceleration was caused by a failed ABS Bake System.
A few days later I also sent the email to Toyota.


It only to took a couple weeks of compiling data to discover many Toyotas experiencing the sudden acceleration had no floor mats.  They needed to revisit the  excuse strategy.  Since the problem with the brakes was always dismissed and attributed to the driver, there was nothing in Toyota's problem reports to act on.


Sticking Accelerator Recall     January 21, 2010

I assume the biggest complaints Toyota could identify was the sticking accelerator. Toyota issued a recall for the Sticking accelerator and proposed a fix to put a shim in the accelerator pedal mechanism to fix the sticking pedals. The Sticky Accelerator Pedal was also Bogus. This was proven later in tests that showed a working brake will override the engine at any throttle opening.

I visited a local Toyota Dealer on 2/1/2010 to tell them both recalls were bogus. The dealer was to receive the shims and installation instructions the next day; he was not happy with my input. I was able to explain the ABS Failure to the Service Manager and a technician and leave a copy of the explanation  before being asked to leave the dealership.

Leaving the dealership, I went to my Congressman's local office to have them send a letter to NHTSA stating the recalls were all bogus and they are not identifying the correct root cause.

 
Congressional Hearings on Toyota

There were three congressional hearings to review Toyota Sudden Acceleration.

1)    House Committee on Energy and Commerce    2/23/2010

2)    House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform  -  2/24/2010

3)    Senate Commerce Committee        3/2/2010

My comments to these hearings -

The problem of SA is caused by a defective ABS Brake -  Not even mentioned in any hearing session.
Target problem was the ETC Module which after a year of testing by NASA was exonerated from causing Sudden Acceleration
Toyota executives grilled for everything but what the problem is.
DOT Sec LaHood made a commitment - "to leave no stone unturned to find the solution to the problem"

I faxed to DOT Sec LaHood's office on 2/3/2010 that neither recall will fix the Toyota SA problem. I explained the SA problem is caused by a problem in the ABS Bake module. If DOT Sec LaHood, his staff, and his paid consultants, can't understand or process enough from a fax sent directly to DOT Sec LaHood that they are looking in wrong modules, how is NHTSA ever going to fix the problem? The ABS Brake information was sent to NHTSA several times before.

A proposal to implement on all cars possible a "Brake override software routine" and make this mandatory for all new cars was readily accepted by the Senate committee. No one asked if there was any history on cars with this system to date. NHTSA is proceeding to make this feature mandatory on all new cars.  My prediction - It will not prevent the SCI crashes they expect because they have not identified the "root cause" of Sudden Acceleration. If the overide software is not written with the knowledge that the ABS Brake software can enter a zombie state, then new cars with this safety software will fail also.


 

NASA contracted to analyze ETC Module

The module targeted by automotive experts and writers was the Electronic Throttle Control (ETC) module. NHTSA contracted a team of NASA engineers to analyze all aspects of the ETC module to see if anything could cause an acceleration event. This took NASA about a year to conclude there was no issues found with the ETC Module. The whole Toyota SA issue was blamed on the ETC module which is now cleared!

NHTSA and NASA held a news conference to announce the conclusion of the study on 2/08/2011. In this conference DOT Sec LaHood announced that NASA study found no electronic faults so all Toyota problems are now found.  Toyota SA is now closed with only the two issues found and solved with recalls.

My comments -

I predicted that the NASA study and the Exponent Inc, study contracted by Toyota would find no problems months before they completed their studies. I am not clairvoyant, but the SA problem is in the ABS Brake module and no amount of testing by any valid group is going to find the problem in the ETC module.

DOT Sec LaHood made a statement that the NASA study clears the electronics in Toyota cars. The ETC study represents about 10% of the electronics in a car. A study of only part of the systems, does not clear all the systems. Whether DOT Sec LaHood misspoke intentionally or unintentionally, I can't determine, but his statement was wrong

I believe the NASA engineering team to be outstanding in the thoroughness of the ETC report; but they were analyzing the wrong module. I sent emails that NASA should continue their study with the focus on the ABS Module. The NASA team leader replied the contract with NHTSA only allowed them to work on the ETC Module. Efforts to get this team to do some real work to solve sudden acceleration failed.

The supporting document to the NASA Report - "Field Inspection Results Table (NHTSA-NVS-2011-ETC-SR11" gives 2 summary pages (pages 5,6) of the cars inspected. Almost every line starts with the "Driver intent" as "Apply Brakes".  If I gave these two pages to Jeff Foxworthy to use in his past game show "Are you smarter than a Fifth grader?", and asked them to figure out what the problem was, I believe they would identify the Brakes as the problem. All the technical experts know that brakes can't be responsible for SA, so keep wandering and testing wrong modules.



Record fines assessed Toyota

NHTSA levied a record fine on Toyota for delaying to report the safety defects to the government - $17.35M.
Toyota paid a fine for not reporting two defects, that did not solve the SA problem, faster to NHTSA. Does this make any sense? An additional fine was levied later for $32.4M for these issues plus a steering rod recall. NHTSA has failed to find the SA problem in over two decades of complaints and investigations, and with over a year of multiple investigations on Toyota vehicles.


Class Action Lawsuit filed against Toyota

A major class action law suit was filed against Toyota based around Sudden Acceleration caused by the ETC module. The ETC module was later cleared by NASA engineering studies. My comment - A class action suit over Sudden Acceleration resulted in over $1 billion settlement on two bogus recalls and the recently cleared ETC module. Is this Justice? Law firms which have contributed nothing to fixing the actual  problem were projected to split $200 Million from the settlement. What a system of justice!



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