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NY Times Op-Ed: Braking Bad

Posted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:53 pm
by MSI
Mar 11, 2010: Ny Times Op-Ed piece by Richard Schmidt Braking Bad about the Toyota issue.
THE move to require automakers to install “smart pedals” on all new cars which deactivates the car’s accelerator when the brake pedal is pressed so that the car can stop safely even if its throttle sticks open. The idea is to prevent the kind of sudden acceleration that has recently led to the recall of millions of Toyotas. Smart pedals most likely will not solve the problem. The trouble, unbelievable as it may seem, is that sudden acceleration is very often caused by drivers who press the gas pedal when they intend to press the brake.
Complaints were far more frequent among older drivers (in a General Motors study, 60-to-70-year-olds had about six times the rate of complaints as 20-to-30-year-olds), drivers who had little experience with the specific car involved (parking-lot attendants, car-wash workers, rental-car patrons) and people of relatively short stature.
What the smart pedal may do, however, is finally give us a sense of whether sudden acceleration tends to stem from operator error. If the reports of acceleration continue (and the smart pedals work properly), then there will be nothing and no one left to blame but the driver.
See the full Op-Ed piece: Braking Bad