We thought we’d seen the last of the unintended acceleration crazes come and go for good nearly two decades ago. We were wrong. Somehow, like Camaros, Chrysler bailouts and Whitney Houston, the phenomenon has clawed its way back into the American consciousness this year. Consumer Reports even devotes an entire study to the number of unintended acceleration complaints lodged against the 2008 model-year with the NHTSA. Unsurprisingly, the big winner was Toyota, with 41 percent of the complaints, Ford came in second with 28 percent while Chrysler had nine percent. But wait, how many cases were there in total? Only 166? So, of the 2.2m vehicles Toyota sold in 2008, a total of 52 complaints were lodged about a phenomenon with no good mechanical explanation… and Consumer Reports wants us to believe that this is statistically significant?
Toyota has announced several steps it is taking to mitigate the risks of floor-mat entrapment and provide “smart throttle” technology (allowing the brake pedal to override the accelerator), but our analysis indicates other problems likely exist.
Hey, same here. Only our analysis says that unintended acceleration is caused by stupid drivers, a problem that no number of gizmos will ever fix. But rather than call it like it is, CR is using their study to scare folks with the prospect that their Toyota might just become possessed by some mysterious force and kill everything in its path. “It looks like the problem may be beyond floor mats,” CR’s Jeff Bartlett tells the LA Times, which in turn shamelessly propagates the allegedly mystery behind unintended acceleration. Instead of scaremongering, CR should take off the tin foil chapeau and try demonstrating some kind of causality behind this phantom menace. Or better yet, they should help remind people that cars don’t unintentionally accelerate, people do.