If you can't stop a car with a jammed accelerator, you shouldn't be driving.
Feb 3, 2010
First, I think Toyota have done absolutely the right thing in recalling vehicles and ceasing sales - this underlines their commitment to safety and desire to maintain their reputation. Clearly, it's an expensive decision (and judging by Fight Club, I suspect most major manufacturers would just pay for the lawsuits), and I hope it doesn't have a long term impact on their sales. Audi had a similar problem a few years ago and their sales never really recovered.
Toyota's responsible approach is starkly contrasted by the federal agency involved. It's really thrown a spanner in the works (that hopefully doesn't get lodged under the brake pedal) with an alarmist "don't drive" reaction. This was completely unnecessary, and one wonders how much is motivated at keeping Toyota sales down to help US car makers (ooo, conspiracy theorists unite). If we all stop driving cars due to infinitesimally small risks, then there would be no vehicles on the road.
Finally, I'm actually shocked that in the tiny, tiny chance of a stuck gas pedal that so many people don't know what to do. Are drivers so disconnected from the mechanics of the machine that they can't take avoiding action? Is the driving test too easy or has nobody ever driven stick? Have modern cars kept us so abstracted from what's really going on that if the cruise control button fell off, we'd just keep going in a straight line forever? For anyone who doesn't know, if your gas pedal is jammed: (1) use the brakes with both feet, (2) move into neutral and (3) turn off the ignition. This shouldn't be a life-threatening event (unless you're texting or smoking pot).
Two separate but related recalls of automobiles by Toyota Motor Company occurred at the end of 2009 and start of 2010. Toyota initiated the recalls, with the assistance of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, after several vehicles experienced unintended acceleration. The first recall, on November 2, 2009, was to correct a possible incursion of an incorrect or out-of-place front driver's side floor mat into the foot pedal well, which can cause pedal entrapment. The second recall, on January 21, 2010, was begun after some crashes were shown not to have been caused by floor mat incursion. This latter defect was identified as a possible mechanical sticking of the accelerator pedal causing unintended acceleration, referred to as Sticking Accelerator Pedal by Toyota. The original action was initiated by Toyota in their Defect Information Report, dated October 5, 2009, amended January 27, 2010. Certain related Lexus and Pontiac models were also affected.
As of January 28, 2010, Toyota had announced recalls of approximately 5.2 million vehicles for the pedal entrapment/floor mat problem, and an additional 2.3 million vehicles for the accelerator pedal problem. Approximately 1.7 million vehicles are subject to both. The next day, Toyota widened the recall to include 1.8 million vehicles in Europe and 75,000 in China. By then, the worldwide total number of cars recalled by Toyota stood at 9 million.