Remember Toyota’s alleged sudden acceleration? And the hysteria surrounding it? Dubious databases were searched for dead bodies. The Secretary of Transportation himself recommended to stop driving your Toyota, and to drive it to the dealer instead – very carefully. Luckless swing club entrepreneurs took to driving a Prius instead, brakes smoking. Lawyers around the nation had wet dreams involving a Gulfstream V (or a 80 foot Sunseeker as a fall-back position.) As nothing of substance was found, the NHTSA asked the august body of the National Academy of Sciences to find the ghost in the machine.
Don’t even bother to look, it’s a worthless search. That’s what Paul Fischbeck, a professor of social and decision sciences and engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, told the National Academy of Sciences.
The risk of dying in a traffic crash is 1.05 deaths per 100 million miles traveled, says Fischbeck. Analyzing the 2.3 million Toyota vehicles recalled for sticky pedals, Fischbeck said if all of them remained unfixed and on the road, the risk of dying would rise to 1.07 deaths per 100 million miles traveled. People have problems with large numbers, so Fischbeck puts it in perspective:
“If you canoe for half-a-mile you incur a 2-in-a-million risk of dying,” Fischbeck says. “Walking for 10 miles is about the same.”
Canoes must be immediately impounded. They are a menace to society.
According to Fischbeck, who is cited in a Detroit News article, the risk of dying while walking along the road is 19 times higher than that of driving in a recalled, but unfixed Toyota.
Walking along the road must immediately stop.
Fischbeck says it’s important to put the risk of sudden acceleration in context.
For instance, if you drive around in an unfixed Toyota for a whole year, you have the same risk of being killed in the line of duty as a police officer working for 2.5 days.
Get those cops off the streets, now (after they are done rounding up the people who walk along the road.)
The National Academy of Sciences will render its report sometime next year. It will remain interesting. Maybe.