By on December 10, 2011

On my raceboat, we had one of those big red things pictured above. It was supposed to switch everything off when things went awry. The NHTSA now proposes something similar for cars with keyless ignition. It is intended to stop the car immediately in a panic situation. Of course it won’t be as intuitive as the big red switch pictured above. After all, the solution comes from Washington, DC.

Bloomberg reports:

“U.S. auto-safety regulators proposed standardizing keyless ignitions to allow drivers to turn off cars faster and more easily in incidents of unintended acceleration following Toyota Motor Corp.’s record recalls. “

If course, this is not entirely true. The NHTSA writes:

In this NPRM, we (NHTSA) address safety issues arising from increasing variations of keyless ignition controls, and the operation of those controls. At issue are drivers’ inability to stop a moving vehicle in a panic situation, and drivers who unintentionally leave the vehicle without the vehicle transmission’s being ‘locked in park,’ or with the engine still running, increasing the chances of vehicle rollaway or carbon monoxide poisoning in an enclosed area.”

Basically, what the proposed rule wants is to standardize the time you need to hold down the Start button for a power-off. As the owner of a runaway (or hung) computer, this may be intuitive to you. In a senior moment, while you are trying to figure out which pedal is the brake and which is gas, pushing the start button to stop may be entirely confusing … but we digress.

Currently, you simply hold down the button and wait a while. This while will be standardized.  The NHTSA proposes:

“to standardize the operation of controls that are used to stop the vehicle engine or other propulsion system and that do not involve the use of a physical key. We are also proposing to require that an audible warning be given to any driver who: attempts to shut down the propulsion system without first moving the gear selection control to the “park” position (for vehicles with a “park” position); exits a vehicle without having first moved the gear selection control to “park” (for vehicles with a “park” position), or exits a vehicle without first turning off the propulsion system.”

As far as the button-push goes, the SAE thinks anywhere between half a second and two seconds is good enough. Not good enough for the NHTSA. It suggests that:

“the driver must hold the control for a minimum of 500 milliseconds to shut down the propulsion system, whether the vehicle is moving or stationary, and the propulsion system must shut down within 1 second of the initial push of the stop control.”

But wait, there is more. While you are panicking, the system first gives you a lesson in proper shutdown procedures. The NHTSA wants to:

“Add a requirement for an internal alert to the driver when s/he requests propulsion system shut down without first placing the gear selection control in park.’ “

 Because, you know, the car can roll away after you panic-stopped and forgot that gear lever. THAT may be the real dangerous thing: Driverless cars!

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137 Comments on “Panic Stop? We’re From The Government, And We’re Here To Help...”


  • avatar
    Dimwit

    And the impetus to all this, the Toyota “runaways” turned out to be a crock! How would these changes affect the mats? Nothing that I would see.

    Once NHTSA got all the low hanging fruit in the 60′s like seatbelts, they’ve been flailing about for more relevance and not succeeding. All they’ve been doing lately is adding complexity and cost, and not making things any safer.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Well, my Altima will beep at you if you leave the car with the engine (or in my case, hybrid) still active. It also will beep at you if the car is not put in park first. So some of this is already in place, though it may not be standardized. I do know the very first time I had to deal with push start I asked myself: Why is this an improvement over a key? Well, two years later I still ask myself. Other that starting the car for defrosting purposes and leaving it running with the door locked, I wonder why this became a must have. I blame it on marketing BS. I’d rather have a key and remote starting.

    Panic shutdown? I can see making the hold time standardized for all cars. That is not government nannying; it actually makes sense since people all rent different cars. Keys, for the most part, gave you standard operation by default. I don’t have a problem with that. But more beeps and chirps? No, thanks…my neighbor already deals with a few at 5:30 am…

    Dimwit: see this link. ’nuff said… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJrXViFfMGk

    • 0 avatar
      Dimwit

      Not really. A rusted out hulk is not my idea of safety. Even worse, that model series is notorious on how badly designed it was. It had a weird frame design to start. Try doing it with something that was purported to be “safe”. It’s like taking the 1995 F150 as the benchmark of safe designs that year. Ummm, no.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        So cars from say, 1995 are as crashworthy as cars of 2010? I beg to differ. And like it or not, the majority of new car buyers look at government crash ratings, IIHS tests, and CR’s safety recommendations before signing on the dotted line. This has caused carmakers push their designs to be safer and safer, even if only for advertising fodder. Today, safety sells and not just to Volvo types. Most ads include star ratings, IIHS picks, and the like, something that was unheard of in the past. So it is safe to say (no pun intended) that the NHTSA has in fact been influential. Now if you were to argue that the gains in safety are getting smaller and the cost for those gains are increasing, you would be correct. But that is no different than anything else. A $500 bicycle blows away a $200 Toys R us special, whereas spending $800 on a bike brings improvement over that $500 one, but the improvement is not nearly as large. Safety, or performance improvement is no different. At some point though one will have to ask the question: are we safe enough? It is easy to argue that any death is a bad death, but can the added cost justify a very marginal improvement? a good question…

  • avatar
    mcs

    The problem with the hold-down of the start button method is that if the micro-controller is having issues, it will likely not be able to execute the section of code that looks at the power button to see if it’s being held down. You need a separate hard wired panic button plain and simple. In fact, I have a device with exactly that problem. Holding it’s power button down isn’t stopping it. I’m sure there are some smart phone owners out there as well that have experienced having to pop the battery when for whatever reason the power button fails to stop it.

    I have a special drive train disconnect pedal in my cars that works great in those situations! It did save me once. I had to stop quickly while wearing a large pair of winter boots. I managed to hit both brake and throttle at the same time. But, thanks to the clutch, rather than plowing into the back of the car in front of me, I was just sitting there wondering why my engine was revving. No disconnect button would have saved me in that situation.

    • 0 avatar
      JREwing

      I don’t see this concept to be problematic in home computers. Take your pick of computer and hold down the power button for about 5 seconds, and BAM – it powers off. Immediately.

      Making an ignition switch that does that kind of immediate shutdown isn’t a terrible technical challenge. Just ask any number of engineers driving around in development mules. They all have a big red button to kill the engine immediately.

      I’m with the rest of you though – not sure what was so horrible about using a physical key.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I’m with the rest of you though – not sure what was so horrible about using a physical key.

        I agree. I’ve never found myself being bothered by using the key. (I also have found the key positions–to turn on electronics but not engine–to be more useful than keyless ignition systems.)

        However, I have a friend who accidentally dropped his fob in the trunk as he was shutting it. The car couldn’t detect the key inside the trunk, so it concluded it was gone and automatically locked everything. He was locked out of his car because the car tried to be smarter than him.

        OTOH, I do believe the fob is a great addition because it trains people to lock the car from the outside rather than manually as they are leaving the car. If they do this, they can never lock the keys in the car. That’s exactly how good safety processes are supposed to work.

      • 0 avatar
        MattPete

        You’re shitting me, right? I’ve had to pull the plug more than once on home computers, and i’ve had to “pop the battery” on more than one Powerbook.

      • 0 avatar
        FuzzyPlushroom

        redav: “I do believe the fob is a great addition because it trains people to lock the car from the outside rather than manually as they are leaving the car. If they do this, they can never lock the keys in the car.”

        Simply do as Volvo and others (Honda, for example) have done in the past – if the driver’s door is open, the inside lock button won’t operate. The only way to lock the keys in either of my Volvos (240 and 740) is to leave the passenger side door open, lock the driver’s door from the outside, then toss the keys in through the passenger side.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    If it’s not broken (a physical key) don’t fix it (with a keyless start).

    • 0 avatar
      mikedt

      Agree. What was so difficult about the key? I’m reminded of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine says she refuses to shake anything anymore. And Jerry sarcastically agree as to how difficult this is.

  • avatar
    Strippo

    What about a third pedal that mechanically disengages the engine from the drivetrain faster than you can reach for a button on the dash?

    I’d hit the Start/Stop button eventually, I’m sure. In the meantime, I may be old school but I’m in control.

    • 0 avatar
      Diesel Fuel Only

      Ditto.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      LOL – I have a car with both the magic third pedal and keyless entry and start/stop. Perfection!

      Actually, once you get used to locking and unlocking the car by just touching the door handle, it really sucks to have to fumble around with keys and fobs. And once you have entry by touch, it would be silly to have to fumble with the key. Just push the button and go.

      I don’t have a problem with standardizing how long to hold the button down – my BMW requires a much longer push than the Altimas I get stuck with all the time. If I just touch the button on the BMW, it just shuts off the engine and leaves all the electrical power on – do the same in an Altima and everything shuts off.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    The communist wing of the Democratic party is getting worried about election. Appears the Republicans might take the white house and both chambers of congress. What to do? Easy.

    Restart the fake Toyota runaway story immediately. This is the goal of this new effort by NHTSA. They are hoping midwest states that are leaning against the Dems will remember what a favor the Obama administration did for Detroit by recalling every Toyota.

    But, you have to give Toyota credit. They knew that Audi had made a mistake by denying the runaway charges long ago. So, Toyota decided to make a fake fix to end the fake runaway charges leveled by the government. This was very smart. I am seeing 2012 Camrys all over the east coast. Toyota, job well done.

    Democrats, enjoy the little time you have left in office. Toyota owners have mostly figured out your recall was a scam waged by Obama on behalf of the UAW. And, these Toyota owners are upset. They will be pulling the Republican lever in November.

  • avatar
    docrock

    “Government expands to meet the ever increasing needs of government . . . ” Author unknow

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    While I’ve never seen what’s so special about keyless start, keyless entry, yes, but keyless start, not so much.

    These days, just about every item you buy now that’s electronic in nature has a toggle on/off power button and virtually ALL of them require you press and hold to activate the off sequence. Whatever happened to a physical hard OFF where you press off and it’s off?

    I know, most items now are computerized and need a special sequence to power down correctly but still, a fail safe, easy to operate backup off button that can be used in a panic situation should be required with these newfangled keyless start systems.

    I know that in the 2011 and on RAM trucks with keyless/remote start, you still have to pop out the button, insert your fob into the keyhole and turn it to the on position along with other sequences required before the shifter is released (for automatics only) as a way to verify you ARE indeed the correct owner so being able to leave one’s keys completely in one’s pocket is almost a moot point.

    The reason I know this is I researched how the immobilizer system works for a post I did a year ago and some guy did a demo video on YouTube about it.

    I’m a bit old skool in that I like my keys thankyouverymuch.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Sounds like Dodge’s keyless ignition is a really useless setup. My mom’s Rav4 only utilizes the fob by proximity. It automatically unlocks the door when you are within a certain proximity. You start the car by pushing and holding the button. Put the car into park and press the button once and it will turn off. After you get out of the car, hit the tiny black button on the outside door handle to lock all the doors. The key never leaves your pocket.

      I’m not a father yet, but I imagine that when I have kids, a keyless ignition will be very handy when I have the little one in one arm and the diaper bag thrown over the other shoulder.

      • 0 avatar
        ciddyguy

        That’s only if you used the remote start using the key fob to start the car from say, inside your house and it’s a way to let the vehicle know it’s really you as all cars these days require a coded key to work with them, It’s a fail safe, so to speak as once you unlock the door, you still have to verify you ARE the legit owner before it’ll release the shifter from park.

        Not a bad idea, but it DOES require you to LEARN the sequence to make it work though and it appears too many are too lazy (or too busy, used as an excuse to RTHM to learn how to make it work).

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        ciddyguy – that makes sense. The way you worded it initially made me think you were talking about all instances of starting the vehicle rather than just when the remote start is used.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      My wife’s 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee has one of those Keyless-Enter’N-Go systems, but you can program it to do what you want in the EVIC (basically an on-board computer and monitoring system).

      It has its benefits and it even has an actual key inside the fob you can use to lock and unlock the driver-side door if the battery in the fob or the vehicle go dead.

      You can also remove the push-button and insert the fob in its place to use it like you would a key, by turning it.

      This whole government mandate thing smacks of meddling so that drivers with insufficient user IQ can have a panic button to push when they lose control. People like that shouldn’t be driving in the first place. They’re a disaster waiting to happen in ANY abnormal or emergency situation.

      But as the recent crash of Air France has shown, people do not act rationally when under stress. It was found that the pilot held the stick back causing the jet to stall and plummet into the Atlantic.

      Holding a button down to stop an engine is less complicated or involved than locating and flipping a kill-switch or trying to memorize a procedure for emergencies. Best and simplest thing to do remains to move the gear shift lever to neutral.

      But what are you going to do if a computer-controlled automatic or CVT won’t let you disconnect? It’s coming to that. And how about when the computer itself goes haywire, as in the case of RFI and EMP. No blue-screen in the car. No way to ‘re-boot’ with a cold-start.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    Funny thing is, I have one of those in my G37. It’s called a clutch. Even my wife’s Taurus SHO has one, it’s some kinda weird lever in the middle of the car, but if you put it in “N”, and the 365 HP monster’s wheels are no longer driven by engine power.

    I think we need better driver’s education, NOT more buttons and do-dads.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      I think we need better driver’s education, NOT more buttons and do-dads.

      Isn’t it funny how we’ll include all this techno-wizardry in modern automobiles for safety’s sake but are so reluctant to do anything to increase operator skill.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Isn’t it funny how we’ll include all this techno-wizardry in modern automobiles for safety’s sake but are so reluctant to do anything to increase operator skill.

        Skills-based driver education doesn’t reduce crash or fatality rates. Passive safety equipment does. Agencies aren’t following your advice because your advice is bad — it doesn’t work.

      • 0 avatar
        Diesel Fuel Only

        Hey, don’t expect so much the citizens of the world’s wealthiest, most powerful and exceptional democracy!

        We are the best at everything, superior in every way, thirteen aircraft carrier battle groups… but we can’t expect people to learn how heel-toe downshift into a roundabout – it’s too complicated and might even be un-American.

      • 0 avatar
        MoppyMop

        Pch101: how are we defining “skills-based” driver education exactly? Usually when you cite a study on this it’s in rebuttal to somebody who thinks giving Skip Barber-type training to everyone is a good way to reduce crashes. Do the papers generally lump in increased basic skills training (such as merging on freeways/lane discipline, both of which were covered very little in my driver’s ed and not at all on my license test, and which a lot of drivers here are terribly deficient in) with track training?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Do the papers generally lump in increased basic skills training (such as merging on freeways/lane discipline, both of which were covered very little in my driver’s ed and not at all on my license test, and which a lot of drivers here are terribly deficient in) with track training?

        Both types have been studied. Neither works to reduce crash or fatality rates.

      • 0 avatar
        chris724

        @Diesel Fuel Only

        I agree with you except for these two points:

        1. Automatic transmissions are pretty good these days.

        2. Roundabouts are stupid.

      • 0 avatar

        Agencies aren’t following your advice because your advice is bad — it doesn’t work.

        Right. Why treat people like grownups when we can have more government? Who needs any advice from the public when we have unelected “agencies” telling us what to do? Why bother with voting when we can have technocrats telling us what works and what doesn’t work?

        Funny how those same “agencies” encourage the use of sobriety checklanes even though those checkpoints reduce traffic safety and increase the number of alcohol related fatalities by taking manpower away from more effective traffic safety work. They do, however, put more money in the hands of government and public employees.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Why treat people like grownups when we can have more government?

        A predictable rant from you. Unfortunately, it was irrelevant.

      • 0 avatar
        JuniperBug

        If proper driver’s education doesn’t get results, why are drivers in Germany so much more skilled and disciplined than we are? I’m pretty sure it ain’t in their genetics.

        Proper driver’s ecucation doesn’t necessarily mean going to racing school; it means driving home the point very early on that paying attention and doing things properly matter, and actively enforcing those concepts.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        If proper driver’s education doesn’t get results, why are drivers in Germany so much more skilled and disciplined than we are?

        You’re cherry picking. You are ignoring the numerous nations that have strict licensing regimes, but higher fatality rates, than the United States.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        @PCH101

        How do you explain that Germany’s death rate is at least as good as ours on a miles driven basis, despite the fact that they drive (on average) smaller cars (arguably less safe) a whole lot faster and in denser traffic than we do in the US? Could it be that thier driver training is considerably better? Which 15 minutes on a German highway would show you to be undoubtedable true.

        I see more stupid driving maneuvers in 15 minutes driving here in the States than I saw in three weeks in Europe. Our driver “training” is a joke. We might as well give out licenses in Cracker Jack boxes for all the good our around the block road test and dumbed down written test do.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        How do you explain that Germany’s death rate is at least as good as ours on a miles driven basis, despite the fact that they drive (on average) smaller cars (arguably less safe) a whole lot faster and in denser traffic than we do in the US?

        You’re cherry picking, too. I do hope that you know that the US and Germany aren’t the only two countries in the world.

        There are a lot of factors that contribute to fatality rates. Driver training has shown to be ineffective for reducing them.

        Traffic density helps to lower fatality rates, as the crash speeds are lower. Higher density also generally correlates with proximity to population centers, which improves the ability to get emergency treatment to crash victims more quickly, which improves their survival rate. Crash victims in remote areas are more likely to die because they are less likely to get help during the “golden hour”.

        Freeways/ motorways also save lives. Fatality rates per mile on limited-access divided highways are lower than they are for roads with interchanges and without barriers between opposing traffic. As you are aware, Germany has an extensive network of motorways; if it had the same amount of traffic but depended upon inferior roads to move it, then the fatality rates would surely be higher.

      • 0 avatar
        ihatetrees

        Skills-based driver education doesn’t reduce crash or fatality rates.

        Skills have nothing to do with very different crash rates between nations? Maybe Germans crash less (per mile driven) because they eat more schnitzel?

        Agencies aren’t following your advice because your advice is bad

        Agencies are political whores who know that it’s not acceptable (yet) to point to unskilled drivers as part of the problem. Their employees like job security…

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Skills have nothing to do with very different crash rates between nations?

        Last I checked, it wasn’t a “skill” to know that driving while intoxicated, tailgating and excessive speed are bad. Yet people do them, anyway.

        You and I have gone through this before. Ironically, your responses prove the point that the research makes.

        I’ve presented the research to you — I have educated you. Yet you refuse to learn from it. You adamantly refuse to change your thinking, and no amount of data will ever get you to change.

        You don’t want to be educated. As it turns out, you’re not alone. If a driver is determined to behave badly, then no instructor, textbook or video is going to change that, either. You won’t learn, and neither will they.

      • 0 avatar
        ihatetrees

        I disagree.
        I have presented facts to you. Yet you spout ‘cherry picking’ as defense against valid comparisons between large populations that manage drivers differently. You refuse to learn from that.

        You assert that driver training and standards have zero effect on fatalities. Not one percent. Not one percent of one percent. But ZERO.

        I completely disagree. I think other nations’ differing standards regarding driver training are a SMALL factor in their lower fatality rates. Driver training is something that should be part of the conversation.

        But any thought of driver training, accountability and responsibility at the NHTSA is considered the moral equivalent of child molestation. That is what is infuriating.

        In DEFENSE of your position, I suspect any toughening of driver standards would result in a very minimal reduction in crashes/deaths. But ZERO? Come on…

        Yes, some of the B&B sympathies’ here toward mandated performance driver skills training are unrealistic. But they have solid points when they question the current ass-hat system of licensing everyone (and almost never suspending licences). Their point is the same as mine: We could have safer roads with better skills based licensing procedures.

        The field is yours, pch. I’m off to work.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Does making sure that people understand what the “N” position does on their transmissions really equate to “skills-based driver education”?

        Whether you put your runaway vehicle into neutral or hold the “Start/Stop” button for two seconds, both would require an informed action from the driver to have any effect.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        Hey ajla, how did you manage to avoid the raging tangent? Was it luck, training, experience, a safety nanny . . . ?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I have presented facts to you

        You really haven’t. You’ve offered your opinions, and you overly rely on a single data point — German fatality rates — as if that one bit of information proves anything.

        In 2009, the US had a fatality rate below that of Belgium, Austria, France, Denmark and Japan, all of which have fairly strict licensing regimes compared to the US. If the data proves anything, it’s that licensing difficulty doesn’t correlate neatly with fatality rates. Hanging one’s hat on Germany, while ignoring all of the other countries that have licensing regulations that are similar to those of Germany, doesn’t make much sense.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        In my experience, standardization is hardly ever a bad thing. If nothing else, it makes engineering easier since everyone already knows the answer to the question. The times when standardization is bad is when it stifles innovation/improvement. Last I checked, no one is being ‘innovative’ and improving the car with the push-button turn-off, so nothing is lost with it being standardized.

        For those who think that standardization is a case of bully-govt, I don’t know whether to laugh or face-palm. It isn’t a case of govt telling you what to do, taking away your liberties/freedom.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      “Both types have been studied. Neither works to reduce crash or fatality rates.”

      First we need to stop apologizing for the inept. Something tells me the folks doing all the studies are apologizing for themselves. Yeah it burns me that some of the most educated, well read people are the worst drivers and would never, ever, EVER, pick up a book on car control, racing or defensive driving. How many books have you read in your lifetime?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        First we need to stop apologizing for the inept.

        Being that you are the guy who admits to driving with a phone loosely strapped to his steering wheel (and with no clue of what flying projectiles can do during a crash), you really ought to keep the fingerpointing to a minimum.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Hell yes I do! In heavy ‘bumper to bumper’ traffic and if I were to crash, it’d be at a low speed in a heavy truck. Thing is, we’re too quick to blame mechanical devices and their shortcomings and never our own. SUA ring a bell? Survivers probably still hold driver’s licenses. Biggest difference between you and I is I’ve read maybe 3 or 4 books from cover to cover. Made damn sure one of them was ‘Bob Bondurant on High Performance Driving’.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Made damn sure one of them was ‘Bob Bondurant on High Performance Driving’.

        Already own it. Read it years ago.

        That doesn’t change the reality that driver education doesn’t get results. If it doesn’t prevent you from doing what you do, why do you think that it would help anyone else?

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        I’ve avoided accidents with inept drivers from what I learned and practiced at autoX events and canyons. It’s gotten me out of trouble driving a medium duty on black ice. It all relates to car balance, weight transfer and contact patch. My point is, what could it hurt? Sure I don’t know trigonomitry but how often does that ineptitude kill? Inocent people/kids sometimes. While people are studying and practicing car control, they learn something you cannot from books alone. That’s remaining cool under pressure and NOT PANICKING!!!

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        That’s remaining cool under pressure and NOT PANICKING!!!

        If you continually find yourself in situations in which you need to avoid panicking, then you are (as I suspected) a below-average driver with far too much confidence in his own skills.

        Here’s a hint: alter your driving style so that you rarely have a need to make evasive maneuvers. Otherwise, you’re just an accident waiting to happen.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        It doesn’t matter if it happens less time in your lifetime vs mine. Statically it will happen but the question is, will you know what to do??? I hear it all the time. “I did ALL I could do…” Based on their knowledge, I guess. Look at skidmarks on the road. You see long, long 200 ft skids followed by a sharp, abrupt hook at the end, a splintered tree or bent up guardrail. That’s panic plain and simple. Tell me all about how accidents can almost never be avioded even by Jack Baruth himself.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        It doesn’t matter if it happens less time in your lifetime vs mine.

        Of course it matters. A driver who puts himself into bad situations less often has a lower likelihood of crashing than does a driver who takes risks.

        You’re actually a poster child for what is wrong with trying to apply track training to the street. Not only are you overconfident and take unnecessary risks, but you use the training to justify taking those unnecessary risks.

        The problem isn’t with everyone else, it’s with you. Do your fellow drivers a favor, and stop creating risks that aren’t necessary for getting from Point A to Point B. Stop pretending that you’re better than average, when you’re actually worse.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Yes in my early days of driving I was a risk but only to myself. I made sure of that. Not trying to excuse it but I picked up a book and learned the right way to drive fast which was a whole lot better than most kids with a lead foot. Yes I put it in the ‘cabbage’ my first time out but that’s when I realized it wasn’t nearly as easy as Steve McQueen and James Garner made it look. So I picked up a book and practiced. If your gonna do it, do it right, right? That was decades ago and haven’t even driven a sportscar in a decade. Haven’t even gotten a speeding ticket in two decades! Of course you want to make this about my risky behavior (early on) instead of yours. Yes not knowing basic car control in emergency situations is risky behavior without a doubt! Hopefully you’ll never be in such a situation and prove me right but you’ll never change my mind on this. If me surfing the net and sometimes this site while at a crawl offends you, then good but it has nothing to do with my greater point and this subject matter.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Of course you want to make this about my risky behavior (early on) instead of yours.

        I make an effort to reduce my risk taking. I’d be a fool not to, since I understand the correlation between unnecessary risk taking and the increased odds of crashing.

        you’ll never change my mind on this.

        I’m sure that’s true. People who refuse to be educated can’t be educated. (Horses led to water, and all that.)

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Doesn’t matter how carefully you are. You’re not the only horse on the track. Who was it that said: “…driving while intoxicated, tailgating and excessive speed are bad, yet people do it anyways”? All of that and all the half blind, on meds, on the phone or even drag racing plus everything else. Things fall off of trucks. Heard of wildlife like deer. Dogs can do alot of damage especially when you don’t try to avoid hitting them or panic. Not only that but anybody in your path can make an ‘honest’ mistake. Sure you can sue them and maybe even win but that’s little consolation for a permanent injury. If you’re happy with your ineptitudes, that’s fine but the life you save maybe someone elses. A passenger in your car perhaps.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        You’re not the only horse on the track.

        That’s true. Which is why I would prefer that you’d tone down your driving style. You aren’t nearly as good as you think.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        The same skills that can get you into trouble can get you out, even if it’s NOT at your own doing. A crash scenario is the same on and off the track. Different laws but the same laws of physics. Even for me, I’ve had to fight off panic in the few collisions I’ve avoided but if I can do it anyone can with enough basic knowledge/experience of course. Just takes one time to make it all worthwhile. Once in a panic mode, your leg just wants to stand on the brakes no mater what you tell it. ABS won’t always save you in all situations. You may have to get on the brakes, then off, turn hard with throttle then back on the brakes. It’s also called racing… Maybe I’m not as good as Jack but I’d give ‘em a run for his money! I got all my hooning done and out of the way early into my million plus miles of driving history. I’m mid 40s now and just left with the skills just in case I need them. Hope you never will, actually, for your sake and those around you.

  • avatar
    areader

    What would be really nice is some kind of mechanism that would provide immediate positive feedback that the intent of the driver had been received and effected by the vehicle. Kind of like what the gearshift lever does on my vehicles. As I move the lever, I feel it move past the detents and see the little marker move to the place I want it to be.

    There is obviously some kind of virus going around. I suspect it’s of communist or maybe Islamic origins, or worse yet, a plot by domestic liberals. In any case, they’ve taken over and are making frequent changes to further deny us our rights as Americans. God given rights of course. Like websites that ‘improve’ the way they’re organized. A week before this takes place, I can find what I want as fast as I can move the mouse. With the improved and streamlined arrangement, I’m back to hunt-and-click mode only to find I mis-clicked. I’m just hoping the Republicans get back in office before these compulsive change agents sneak into my house and improve the organization of my sock drawer.

  • avatar
    Diesel Fuel Only

    The switch pictured reminds me of a documentary I saw on the Chernobyl disaster. The operator saying, “I don’t understand what happened… I pressed the A-Zed Five Button!”

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    Even with automatic transmission, I don’t know of any car that won’t put the transmission in neutral when the shifter is moved to N. That will disengage the engine from the wheel, so even if it’s out of control it won’t make the car out of control. Of course if the driver that’s incapacitated (i.e. panicking), no amount of safety devices can protect you from that, except perhaps something that took over and drive the car while the driver is incapacitated. Hell, even a perfectly fine car, no fault whatsoever, occasionally launch itself into buildings due to driver error.

    • 0 avatar
      JuniorMint

      +1

      I remember learning right in Driver’s Ed that if the car wanted to go and you didn’t, hit the shifter until it doesn’t.

      I guess everybody didn’t have that advantage.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      In the famous case of the Prius running away on the CA freeway, the driver said he didn’t shift into N because he was scared the car would ‘roll.’ He made the wrong decision in part because he didn’t know how his car worked. I have found many people don’t know what happens when you take a car out of gear while it’s moving; they, too, would make that same mistake.

      I test drove a CT200h. It does not have a traditional gearshift that uses the PRNDL set-up. At first glance, it was not obvious how to put it into N. It is possible that an uneducated driver of such a car would not even know how to do it in an emergency.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    “Government expands to meet the ever increasing needs of government . . . ” Author unknown <— Quote of the year (s).
    @docrock- YOU rock !

  • avatar
    chris724

    If only there were some sort of physical interlock between the transmitter “key” and the dashboard of the vehicle. In an emergency, the operator would be forced to turn off the engine by rotating the “key” before removing it from the console. What a concept! Seriously, keyless ignition is the ultimate example of a solution in search of a problem.

  • avatar
    MadHungarian

    Every racing series that I can think of requires cars to have a kill switch. If the car has an electric fuel pump, the kill switch instantaneously, not after any kind of interval, cuts the power to the fuel pump. Voila, no power to the engine, and no fuel being spewed about if a crash nevertheless ensues.

    What in the name of all that is good would be so hard about that? Put the kill switch on the driver’s left (right, in RHD cars) so a passenger cannot bump it.

    And no, stickshift snobs, a clutch pedal is not a complete substitute for a kill switch. Cutting power to the engine with the car in gear gives you compression braking and reduces the fire risk. If a clutch pedal makes a kill switch unnecessary, why do racing rules require it, in cars that mostly have clutches?

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      A clutch pedal is not a complete substitute for a kill switch, but neither is a button asking the computer if it could please turn off after a couple seconds if it’s not too busy thinking about other things.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      I’ve given the position of the ignition/kill switch some thought – it *should* remain within reach of a passenger, should the driver become incapacitated (i.e. medical problem – like a heart attack) and floor the gas pedal while slumped over the wheel. At least the passenger could reduce the speed of the vehicle in some manner, and possibly steer it to coast to a stop.
      There’s nothing wrong with the “evel gubbmint” stepping in to standardize something that used to be an extra-cost option that is now increasingly becoming standard issue on cars that are used by those that are more familiar with the standard ignition key. However, I disagree with the “hidden” nature of the shut-down; the photo heading this article is the absolute perfect solution – a big red “Off” switch, with a flip-up shield. I’m sure that more aesthetic versions that match the car’s interior styling would be allowed (like safety flasher buttons – now fairly ubiquitous and understood). If carmakers are going to adopt what used to be a convenience feature as the defacto standard… well, standardization is just sensible.

    • 0 avatar
      Strippo

      A kill switch for the lowest common denominator would do more harm than good. Professional racers won’t trip a kill switch unintentionally because they’re professionals concentrating on the task at hand and not on whether the toddler has dropped his sippy cup. Racing isn’t commuting. Besides, braking is braking. Compression braking is useful for saving the brakes in normal use, but it is not absolutely necessary to bring a passenger vehicle to a safe stop in an emergency.

  • avatar
    Rick Korallus

    What’s wrong with a good ‘ole “ignition switch”?!

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Nothing wrong with keys per se but mgfrs sure notice when buttons and processors that started off as a gimmick/gadget weigh a whole lot less than mechanical hardware, take less time to assemble and no doubt cheaper to make. Plus mechanical parts are more likely to fail under warranty.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    Instead of rehashing the obvious statement: “why not just go back to the ignition key,” the much better question is why the hell do modern “fancy” cars have pushbutton starters?

    Most cars still require you to carry something that in at least some way resembles a key that still needs to be shoved into some appropriate receptacle (usually on the dash) before you actually can press the pushbutton starter.

    So, if anything, we’ve added an extra step to just inserting a key into the dash. And, most ignition sequences aren’t even controlled by holding the key in the “Start” position anymore, either. A computer does that. My GMC will crank itself just by flicking the key forward (which leads me to many false starts when I’m driving other cars, but I digress).

    They key ignition is more of a CONCEPT than an actual necessity. We all know computers behind the dash control every damn thing the car or truck does. It’s the same thing as modern AT gear selector levers. They might as well be buttons on the LCD screen, but we’re so used to grabbing levers to select a gear, that any departure from that confuses and annoys us. And the last thing I want my car or truck is to confuse and annoy me… especially if they add additional steps to what should be pretty straightforward.

    I mean I’m old enough to remember that when fuel injection became commonplace it was pretty cool to have a car start without having to do a choke switch and gas pedal happy dance. You started with a flick of a key. And while I’m on the subject, who here has driven an old diesel that they had to wait a minute or two for the glow plugs to warm up on a cold morning? I used to have to plan ahead to allow my farm-grade diesel Suburban to get glowing on below freezing mornings. And the heater didn’t work because the engine never got “hot.”

    Kids these days.

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    I don’t think better training will help much either.

    One of the first incidents with the recent “unintended acceleration” fiasco, was the Lexus that crashed and burned in San Diego. The cop driving it was supposedly very well trained.

    It seems that this accident , despite the wrongly fitted carpets could have been avoided, but the driver was unfamiliar with the loaner Lexus.

    I have picked up enough airport rental cars late on a dark cold night and have not often not been able to figure out every button until several days later.

    Does it have automatic headlights?
    Are my headlights on or just the DRL’s ?
    Where’s the defrost for the rear window?
    Where’s the wiper for the rear window?
    Where’s the gas cap button?
    My instruments are lit, but are my headlights on (Ford Fusion, just missed a ticket on this one)?
    How does demist on this automatic climate control work?
    How can I turn off ESP to get out of this snow drift?

    It seems like there should be a least some uniformity for things that involve safety. It’s bad enough with all the other systems on the car but mostly they don’t affect safety much , although driving with no lights on could be problem.

    A basic CTRL-ALT-DEL switch might not be a bad idea.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      The cop driving it was supposedly very well trained.

      Where did you hear that? He didn’t even understand the function of “neutral”.

      I’d believe that police are well-trained and competent at driving if they fail the bottom half of the class at the academy. Hey, it’s how my engineering college worked in first year!

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        CHP officers receive 36 hours of advanced driving instruction.

        Emergency Vehicle Operations Course

        The Emergency Vehicle Operations Course is famous throughout the world as the finest law enforcement driver training program available. You will be trained in enforcement driving at the Emergency Vehicle Operations Course. You will receive a minimum of 20 hours of lecture on vehicle dynamics, performance driving techniques, and departmental policy. You will also receive a minimum of 16 hours of hands-on driver training. This training includes vehicle placement, skid control techniques, performance driving, defensive driving, and Code-3 pursuit driving.

        Each cadet will be required to meet minimum performance objectives during each phase of hands-on training, as well as showing knowledge by successfully completing a written examination.

        http://www.chp.ca.gov/cadet/cadetlife.html

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        But what’s the failure rate? If almost anyone can pass it just by attending, then it’s meaningless. For any particular skill, the majority of the population isn’t very good at it and never will be. Skills can certainly be improved with training, but 36 hours isn’t much. If I pick any sport that I’ve never played before and study it for 20 hours then practice for 16, I’ll probably still be terrible at it!

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        It doesn’t matter how much time it involves.

        I’ve never seen anything credible to support the argument that CHP training is poor. If anything, it’s the opposite; their training regimen helps to set the benchmark among law enforcement agencies. If you have anything substantive to support your position, then offer it.

      • 0 avatar
        ExPatBrit

        It’s a true statement , “supposedly” well trained. He had more training time than most regular drivers.

        Apparently the final exam wasn’t hard enough or he forgot what he learned.

        How do you propose to fix that? More training?

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        How about the fact that one of their officers didn’t know the function of neutral? How can a “well-trained” driver not understand such a basic function of an automobile?

        Sorry for the edit. I changed the wording because I didn’t want to imply that it is impossible to go from incompetent to competent with adequate training. Adequate would be way more than 36 hours for anything complex.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        It’s a true statement , “supposedly” well trained. He had more training time than most regular drivers.

        That it is!

        How do you propose to fix that? More training?

        Higher standards for a passing grade. I get the impression it’s like high school: everyone who shows up for class passes!

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        How about the fact that one of their officers didn’t know the function of neutral?

        If you are an engineer, then you must have studied statistics.

        And if you’ve studied statistics, then you should know that a single anecdote proves absolutely nothing about anything. One can’t possibly assess the quality of the training based upon one crash.

        However, there is an abundance of data that shows that drivers who take courses don’t crash less than those who do. There is also other data that shows that drivers with advanced training crash more than the norm.

        The problem isn’t with inadequate skills, but that improved technical skills don’t lead to fewer crashes. Drivers would crash less if they would drive less aggressively. Driving aggressively with a touch of finesse doesn’t improve safety.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        “However, there is an abundance of data that shows that drivers that take courses…”

        Don’t suppose you could provide an abundance of links… Who’s studying people who study car control, racing or defensive driving and why? Apologists, right? If they really are keeping track, aren’t they cherry picking candidates? Why wasn’t I included? Men are like 10,000% more likely to take driving courses so aren’t you just comparing men vs women stats? Yes we know women drive safer if not slower but they also drive less. Stay at home moms? Shorter commutes when they don’t? Aren’t most driving jobs held by men? Chauffeurs? Garbage collectors? Tow truck drivers? Aren’t men more likely to drive when they’re driving together as a couple/family? You do know that women under 45 years old are 300% more likely to get into serious injury accidents when it rains vs dry roads? Women over 45 are 400% more likely. They should at least take the ‘driving on wet’ part of the class, no? The first thing they teach is about friction and how driving relies on it.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        True, that anecdote proves nothing, and it’s probably not directly related to the specific driver training he received. The course likely didn’t even cover any of the most basic information that one should know before receiving a learner’s license.

  • avatar
    Rob Finfrock

    Yet again, our government seeks a way to waste time and effort (and taxpayer money) on another ploy to save the lesser among us from themselves. Sigh.

    • 0 avatar
      MattPete

      Waste money? How? If anything, a good ol’ key would be cheaper than the keyless BS that is all style over substance.

      Seriously, why would you defend bad engineering? Likewise, I don’t want some clod running into me because he can’t stop his car that is careening out of control.

      • 0 avatar
        Rob Finfrock

        As noted by previous posters, it’s cheaper to manufacture a simple push on-off switch than it is to provide a lock-and-tumbler assembly. A simple on-off switch is also more reliable, and less prone to costly mechanical failure. So, you lose there.

        Where you advocate yet another costly, federally-mandated program intended to protect a “clod” from themselves, I prefer to not waste a single dime preserving the lives of utter morons who don’t know how to shift into neutral.

        I don’t want clods running into other people, either, but bad things can and will happen to good people regardless, often at the hands of incredibly stupid people. I want to see a bit more Darwinism in our society, to eliminate the lowest hanging fruit. Saving money is merely an added bonus.

      • 0 avatar
        MattPete

        (1) You’re being disingenuous: It’s more than a simple push-button, there is also the cost of the wireless/bluetooth/whatever system that needs to be taken into account. You also need to take into account the soft-start hardware and computer code.

        (2) Have you ever had a tumbler fall? Ever heard of one failing? I haven’t, nor have I ever heard of one failing.

      • 0 avatar
        Rob Finfrock

        1) All of the parts you mention are still simpler and less complex than a lock tumbler.

        2) MattPete, do a document search (CTRL-F) for “ignition” and tell me what you find: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/automotive/ford_focus.html

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      Sorry, but many good people are somewhat technically inept, and don’t deserve to die because they don’t know how to operate the latest high-tech doo-dad that some snarky manufacturer decides to use to supplant what used to be a simple and straightforward way of stopping a car’s engine. People are generally good at certain things (but not ALL things), and technology should make things better, not worse.

      • 0 avatar
        Rob Finfrock

        This isn’t a question of someone not knowing when they should accelerate into a decreasing radius turn, or how to pair their phone with SYNC. We’re talking about people who are willfully ignorant towards the basic operation of a fundamental system of the automobile.

        Does it take one second of holding the button to turn the engine off, or three? Figuring that out BEFORE driving away is not a difficult exercise to accomplish, or at least it shouldn’t be. If someone is unwilling to take the time to learn how to turn the car off (like our friend MattPete seems to be) or totally ignorant of how to disengage the motor from the transmission, then it’s not up to the government to make their lives easier.

        It’s up to THEM to remove themselves from the road, because driving is apparently just too damn complicated for their little brains to handle. People who don’t understand that shouldn’t be pandered to or protected by our government; they should be shamed and humiliated, and prevented from ever driving on a public road again.

  • avatar
    meefer

    The ToyoLex system that came under fire is simple to shut off. Hold down the Start/Stop button for 3 seconds. Car shuts off ignition, accessory power stays on, car goes to neutral. That’s what the manual says, that’s what I did in my own car. RTFM.

    And I don’t understand any keyless system that requires you to put the key in a receptacle on the dash. I usually have, I dunno, keys on my keys which will scratch the living heck out of the dashboard. VW/Audi are the only systems I’ve seen in person that are that bad although the Aston Martin “Emotion Control Unit” BS has the same problem.

    • 0 avatar
      ExPatBrit

      This was a loaner Lexus.

      I have never received a manual from any rental car agency, when I received a loaner from the dealer all I received was a set of keys.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      Three seconds is an *awful* long time when you are staring at the back of the tractor-trailer in front of you and (supposedly) accelerating towards it and (supposedly) your engine is running away on you.

      Yes, the correct course of action is to shift to neutral, but we have to recognize that not every driver was trained properly and/or still remembers. Yes, a clutch pedal will solve this, but tell that to an average soccer mom.

      The methods that are available to the driver to shut the car down – ALL of them – should not require a 3 second delay.

      Shifting to neutral doesn’t. Hitting the clutch pedal doesn’t. Switching off a traditional keyed ignition doesn’t.

      I’m with everyone else saying to just bring back keys, but failing that, it needs the big red panic button that stops the engine NOW.

  • avatar
    Brian P

    Push-button starting, keyless or otherwise, is something that the auto industry copied from race cars and motorcycles.

    But they forgot the critical element … both race cars and motorcycles already have a hard-wired mechanical switch (“the big red button”) that immediately kills power to the ignition when pressed, and it does so without relying on software. You hit that switch, the spark plugs and fuel injectors don’t get power. Simple as that.

    There are a few motorcycles out there that have keyless ignition systems not unlike those used in cars. BUT. They still have “the big red button”. And in one case that I’m aware of – the Kawasaki Concours 14, not sure of the new model but the old one was like this – it still had a rotary switch that had all the same positions as a normal keyed switch, including “off”, the only difference is that you didn’t have to stick a key into it.

    I don’t get why the auto industry can’t do precisely that. It avoids having to introduce a new operator interface. If you turn the selector switch one click-position anticlockwise with the engine running, the engine turns off … just like it does with a normal keyed switch.

    And I know it’s a bit of a tangent, but the comment above about certain cars having the instruments lit all the time even though the taillights are off and the headlamps are in daytime run lamp mode, this is something that really burns me up. Hyundai, Subaru, Honda, Acura, Toyota, Lexus, you are all guilty of this. The combination “dark outside” + “instrument lighting on” + “engine running” + “taillamps not on” must never exist. However you opt to achieve this, be it via automatic headlamps or kill the instrument lighting when it’s dark if the headlamps are not on (VW Golf does this), is up to you. But cars driving around without lights at night, without the drivers being aware of it, is a real danger. And no, that tiny little green lamp that indicates that the daytime run lamps are on, is nowhere near enough.

  • avatar
    MattPete

    Just bring back frackin’ keys. This whole keyless start system is a solution in search of a problem. If anything, it has added more steps, not less, and made starting (and turning off) a car more difficult.

    And for those nitwits saying RTFM, try that with a rental car. The last few I had didn’t have one.

    • 0 avatar
      Rob Finfrock

      And for those nitwits saying RTFM, try that with a rental car. The last few I had didn’t have one.

      Well then, how about ATFRC? (Ask the freakin’ rental clerk.) If you’re not sure how to operate a system on a rental vehicle, the onus is on you — and YOU only — to determine whether you’re competent enough to handle that system in an emergency. When all else fails, ASK FOR ASSISTANCE or take a different, simpler vehicle.

      I know it’s hard, MattPete. Personal responsibility is a real bitch sometimes.

      • 0 avatar
        ExPatBrit

        At one time when I was a road warrior I probably rented at least 40 cars a year.

        The rental clerk doesn’t know, he’s got a line of people and twenty different types and models of cars on the lot and it’s 10 o’clock at night. When you can’t open the gas cap you are probably 20 miles away from the lot.

        Consider an Ipod or a smartphone, for the best of these devices you never need a manual. The operation is intuitive, if the interface is done correctly you won’t get lost as there are multiple ways to navigate thru the software with no dead ends.

        How about vehicle uniformity for safety related systems but not for stuff like climate control or entertainment. If the manufacturers won’t take care of this it won’t be the government it will be the lawyers which is way worse. Imagine all the yellow warning stickers . Bought a ladder recently?

      • 0 avatar
        MattPete

        HTF am I supposed to ATFRC once I’ve reached my destination? Do you have the rental clerk give you a tutorial before you leave the rental agency? I sure as hell don’t.

      • 0 avatar
        Rob Finfrock

        Do you have the rental clerk give you a tutorial before you leave the rental agency? I sure as hell don’t.

        I don’t either… but unlike you, apparently, I’m also not stymied by advances in technology. Do you take any time to familiarize yourself with an unfamiliar vehicle’s controls before you move the shift lever? Maybe you SHOULD ATFRC for help, preferably BEFORE you reach your destination and even before you put that scaaaaary rental car into gear.

        It humors me how the Luddites want the government to once again step in to protect them (think of the poor CHILDREN!!!!!) Society’s technological progress does not stop merely because someone does not understand it, MattPete. It’s up to you to adapt; you shouldn’t need NHTSA to fight your battles of ignorance for you.

    • 0 avatar
      MattPete

      So, you are advocating bad engineering?

      In systems engineering and human factors, a new design that increases errors and decision time is by definition a failure.

      If 2 PhDs and an engineer can’t figure out how to turn off their car in the parking garage when they arrive at their conference hotel, then the design is a failure (it was either a Prius or Chryslere 200).

      Likewise, the Army engineers and scientists I work with joke that if you can’t engineer a system right, then you spend the money on training people to work around the system’s faults.

      Good engineering adapts the system to the person, not the other way around.

      • 0 avatar
        Rob Finfrock

        Sigh. Just because you and a few others may not understand it, MattPete, doesn’t mean it’s “bad engineering.” What it does mean is that you should have reviewed how to use that feature before driving away.

        Why is that so hard for you to understand? It’s a weak argument to blame your personal failings on the equipment…

      • 0 avatar
        MattPete

        Yes, it’s bad engineering. Textbook case.

      • 0 avatar
        Rob Finfrock

        As cliched and immature as this may be to say… no, you’re the textbook case.

        Sorry for the cheap shot, but holy hell, you’re dense.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Just bring back frackin’ keys.

      Keys never went away. If people like to have push button starts, then I don’t see the problem with having them.

      However, NHTSA’s idea of standardizing the emergency shutdown procedure of cars equipped with these controls isn’t a bad one. At the very least, it can only be a good thing if we can feel assured that the guy driving next to us probably knows how to stop and turn off his car if he needs to.

      I suppose that some folks want to pretend that having predictable user-friendly controls is a sign that the world is about to end. Those people ought to take some FDA-regulated sedatives and chill out.

      • 0 avatar
        Rob Finfrock

        And “some people” want to add yet another government program, and waste even more money our country doesn’t have, to further dumb down a privilege that is already far too accessible to even complete and utter morons.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        And “some people” want to add yet another government program, and waste even more money our country doesn’t have

        I gather that you don’t have a clue what NHTSA is even suggesting. You’re too busy being hysterical and cliched to even know what you’re talking about.

        And it’s not going to cost anything to have a predictable shutdown procedure. It’s not as if there isn’t a procedure now for shutting them down; obviously, the engines all can be turned off, in some way. There’s no more cost to standardizing that than there is to standardize the color of traffic lights and stop signs. I guess we must be communists because some cities don’t have the freedom to have purple stop signs.

      • 0 avatar
        Rob Finfrock

        And it’s not going to cost anything to have a predictable shutdown procedure

        Oh please. It’s already cost taxpayers money for NHTSA to even cast a sideways glance at this issue. Seriously Pch, how naive are you?

        Incidentally, it doesn’t matter to me what color a stop sign is, as long as I can still read “Stop.” How do you think the colorblind manage?

    • 0 avatar
      MattPete

      Rob, I’m being nice when I say that you are as dumb as a rock.

  • avatar
    texan01

    How about giving us the damned key switch back.

    Even aircraft have a key start (or at least the small craft I’ve been in and occupied the right seat)

    It’s simple, everyone and their uncle knows how to use it, and its effective.

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    In a panic situation people are not going to be thinking rationally. They need a big red STOP button to hit.

    But since that will look absurd on most modern cars if not done right, we won’t get something that works, instead we’ll get layers of regulations which will allow each manufacturer to do their own thing in the end.

    Which in turn means every car will be different. And we’ll probably have layers of paperwork, additional cost and no real benefit.

    How about we let the industry move to a standard as they are most likely to do. Much like the modern layout of a cars control. gas on the right, brake in the middle, clutch on the left. Gear selector in the middle (unless it’s an automatic and even then most are there)

    Sure beat the funky chicken you had to do to drive a model-T

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    I was lucky, I had a good driver’s ed teacher in HS, now this was in the very early 1980′s and learned on the then contemporary Buicks, including the I think a Buick Lasabre and at times a Buick Skylark (X body FWD), all hailed from 1981-82 model years.

    I learned how to merge onto a highway, how to change lanes and such but later on, thanks to my Brother in Law Bob, who grew up in Madison Wisconsin, I learned how to drive in the snow in my car at that time, a 1974 Chevy Nova.

    And thanks to his teaching me the physics of how to drive in the snow and what to do if I get into a slide (and mind you, we tried to get the car to slide but it just would not do so). I later that same winter had to steer myself out of a predicament when coming home from Community College. I forgot about a section of a street where it’s in shadow for much of the day and thus still icy and the car began to slide into oncoming traffic and had to steer myself out of that predicament and was able to keep my cool and steer the car out of trouble and slowed down in the process by letting off the gas steering into the skid to rectify my booboo.

    Yes, my heart went into my throat but I got myself out of the predicament and that’s what mattered and to this day, I can drive in the snow just fine, even with my 2WD Ranger with all season radials by just using the motor as braking and going very slow.

    So if you pay attention and have a good instructor, there is a change you can learn a thing or two and thus can keep your cool and do the right things to get yourself OUT of trouble when it occurs while driving.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      We live in a country where driving is considered a “privilege” in most states, but in reality, it’s a necessity; therefore, even those who are technically inept, near-infirm, and just plain dumb MUST drive to be able to live. Thus, the nannies, airbags, etc., and the frustration of those of us who consider ourselves “better” drivers. It is what it is – “rural” roads (once considered the habitat of us “real drivers”) are now the right-of-way between housing plans and strip malls/box stores, and any of us who want to “hoon” have to waste gas (and time) to get far enough out of town to enjoy somewhat unfettered motoring. Cars/motorcycles have become a victim of their own popularity, and the increasing amount of “tech” and toys are simply there to mask the fact that you can’t really *drive* them anymore (despite all of the “hooning” done in car ads with the disclaimer “Professional Driver on Closed Course”).

  • avatar
    wmba

    Well, if as Pch101 suggests, training doesn’t reduce accidents, and that advanced driver training as per CHP causes even more accidents, then it is no wonder the cop couldn’t control the runaway Lexus. Reductio ad absurbum. Let’s let people drive with no training at all, because that would be the safest and cheapest way for society to proceed. Is that what you are saying?
    What training, if any, do you propose in order to be licensed?

    As for CHP driver training, it won’t hold a candle to UK police driver training. Even American “cops” know that.

    http://www.policeone.com/international/articles/137378-Police-driver-training-The-U-K-way/

    Also google police driver training UK. Those folks get the international contracts to train foreign police forces. I’ve seen police cars in London do things that the most crazy hoon couldn’t duplicate, and the car in control all the time. Breathtaking to watch. Makes cop chase movies look tame and noisy. When you see that, I’d bet those drivers wouldn’t screw up stopping a runaway Lexus.

    As for keyless ignition, and all the other modern bs in cars, with too many buttons and/or navi-screens, all different from one make to another, I think it is time to standardize things. The US did this back in the early sixties when PRNDL became standard, and Chrysler pushbuttons went away.

    I am not swayed by ridiculous and irrelevant libertarian, conservative, liberal etc. arguments about freedom or other bs. I’m sharing the road with the great unwashed, uncaring masses who sip coffee, eat, text, apply makeup, blah, blah, blah. A standardized and SIMPLE control interface should be mandated. My ass is on the line,and I want the average dolt sharing the road with me to at least know what the major controls do, and not have to search for them. Screw ridiculous ideas of liberty. Driving is serious business.

    So if keyless entry and ignition start/stop becomes the norm, so should the interface.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Let’s let people drive with no training at all, because that would be the safest and cheapest way for society to proceed. Is that what you are saying?

      Driver education has been researched for decades. The original idea behind it was that it would improve safety, but it became evident that it didn’t. This conclusion is not controversial in the research field; much effort has been since then to find some type of education that does work, since the idea of using education to improve results is quite appealing.

      Driver’s ed can do a good job of providing basic skills to someone who doesn’t have them. Someone who has no idea how to steer or brake can acquire those skills from a training course.

      Driver education does a poor job of making sure that people drive politely or sober. As we can see with Denver Mike here, his track time only makes him more aggressive, which is representative of what happens to many of those who get track time. So yes, his track time has made him a worse street driver, not a better one.

      A lot of bad driving is the result of bad attitudes, not a deficiency in technical skills. Safety is not enhanced by drivers who can cut a better apex, but by those who avoid tailgating and other risky behaviors.

      The average driver believes himself to be above average. Of course, that’s a nice way of saying that the average driver thinks that he is better than just about everyone else, and that it is everyone else who is incompetent, not himself.

      Of course, we know that can’t be true. The average driver is just average. There are just as many drivers who are below average as there are who are above average, by definition.

      And since it is bad attitudes that cause accidents, then this forum is probably filled to the gills with bad drivers. Individuals who always blame everyone else and who never take personal responsibility are generally not particularly competent.

      Drivers who find themselves constantly dodging and weaving, creating the need for them to make evasive maneuvers that they wouldn’t have needed to make if they would just chill out, are bad street drivers.

      So ironically, those who do all of this bellyaching about everyone else’s bad driving are generally below average themselves. Those who treat street driving as some sort of competition and who can’t play nicely with others are a far greater risk to safety than the annoying old lady who doesn’t accelerate quickly enough to suit us.

      The latest effort is to see whether driver’s ed that focuses on the I’m-better-than-everyone-else attitude problem might be more effective. Since bad attitudes are the root causes of many crashes, fixing those attitudes and replacing them with more defensive driving techniques would help. Some of the early research is promising, so we’ll see whether that ends up proving to be successful.

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    Well said!

    It’s not like putting the gas pedal on the right made us all Luddites.

    When the emergency responder needs to Google how to turn off someones car after an accident it’s a problem.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    @Pch101

    I can also shoot better than 99% of the population but does that mean I’m more dangerous with a gun in my hand than the average librarian with no training? I’m an adult and I’ll put up my driving record against yours any day. Let me know when you accumilate a million miles accident free. I had one accident my whole life. I was rear ended while sitting at a light and I partly blame myself.

    If you cannot multi-task while at a crawl, then that’s on you. Maybe it’s genetics. I’ve got skills that apparently you feel are over-the-top somehow if there is such a thing but according to your logic, if limo driver with 20 years experience has to get defensive drivers training say for a new job, he’s suddenly more dangerous on the road? How so?

    How does my track time decades ago make me an aggressive driver on the street today? Or even back then? All you’re doing is lumping together someone like me or Jack Baruth with aggressive drivers or bad drivers with no manners. Racing is a sport and I don’t see the link other than ultimate car control saves lives on the street. Deny it all you want but it works for people that have it. The rest do the best they can. Maybe people go to the track to get out their aggressions, I don’t know, I’ve never been aggressive, not even on the track. Kids that take kickboxing are usually the last ones to start a fight on the outside. You make alot of gross assumptions to push along your pointless agenda.

    This “data” you keep refering back to and backing up all your claims is collected how? And more importantly, why? So how would one cross reference the “data” with bad drivers and what exactly constitutes advanced driver training anyway? Is such “data” on police accident reports? No. Pulled the “data” out of your arse? Yes. Got links??? No.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      I’ve got skills that apparently you feel are over-the-top

      Quite the contrary. I suspect that your skills aren’t very good at all. You are a legend in your mind, but not in anyone else’s.

      Like most people, you obviously believe that you are a better driver than just about everyone else. Like most people, you are wrong.

      Someone who isn’t smart enough to know that it isn’t a great idea to loosely strap a small object to his steering wheel doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. If you can’t figure out that little bit of physics, then forgive me if I don’t rank you up there with Jackie Stewart as a leader in improving driver safety.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        There you go again with your ASSumptions. I’m starting to figure what you’re about. Where’s all this “data” you’ve been telling us about over and over and over???

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I’ve posted plenty of links in the past. And in any case, a fair bit of the research can be found online. If you were that interested, you would look for it.

        But I’m pretty sure that you aren’t interested in anything that tells you that you aren’t as talented as you think you are. And that pinpoints why driver education doesn’t work — people like you don’t want to learn from it.

        Since you’re already outstanding and it’s everyone else who sucks, you have nothing to learn and no need to change, apparently. Everyone on the road is flawed, except for you.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        There’s nothing online and you’ve been spouting the same rhetoric for a while with zero links and yes I’m calling you out as a fraud. There is no way to collect adequate “data” without guessing and there isn’t a database necessarily for who’s had what training or for how long or at what level. One thing you never hear about is the Jackie Stewarts of the world having more traffic accidents than the general pop. I’m sure you’ll find the opposite to be true.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        There’s nothing online

        If your Googling skills are on par with your driving skills, then we’re all hosed.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        If it’s that tough to provide a link… speaks for itself! No one’s gonna bother studying a topic with such ambiguous and vague terminology or perameters. Get real.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        If it’s that tough to provide a link

        It isn’t tough at all. I’ve already posted them elsewhere on this website.

        Frankly, it gets old posting this stuff repeatedly, when those who would benefit the most from reading the material would prefer to ignore it or otherwise get defensive about it.

        Again, your reactions confirm the conclusions of the research, and there is no amount of peer-reviewed research in the world that is going to get you to change. Spoon feeding it to you won’t help.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        You’d have to be insane to not see the link between drivers with advanced training being more likely to avoid collisions than the general population which although they do the best they can, usually involves panic.

        You’ll have to expand on your link between those having advanced training and driving stupid.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        You’d have to be insane to not see the link between drivers with advanced training being more likely to avoid collisions than the general population which although they do the best they can, usually involves panic.

        Well, if you think that I’m insane, then the researchers and academics who study this stuff for a living must be completely bonkers. Fortunately, we have geniuses like you who attach flying projectiles to their steering wheels to show us differently.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @Pch101

        Alright, point to a particular thread. I’ve been coming here for years and yet to see a link from you, just alot of hot air. If it’s too much to provide a researcher, institution, study by name, it never happened. Just a couple key words or names is all it takes, if it really exists. Why even bring up a study or “data” if you can’t back it up. This isn’t YouTube and you’re a complete fraud.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      I can also shoot better than 99% of the population but does that mean I’m more dangerous with a gun in my hand than the average librarian with no training?

      To expand on the firearm analogy: It’s been my experience, when it comes to shooting skill, that the average untrained woman is a better shot than the average untrained man after training. Although, in a large group, the best shooters tend to be men.

      In keeping with that, a more skills based approach to licensing and enforcement would help (more timid) women more than (more aggressive) men.

      And while I’m certain that driver training and standards are a factor in vehicle death rates, there are interesting exceptions worldwide.

      OECD Death rate per billion vehicle Km.

      Australia -6.0
      Austria -8.9
      Canada -8.2
      Denmark -8.2
      France -7.7
      Germany -7.2
      Switzerland -5.6
      USA -8.5
      UK -5.7

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_OECD_countries_by_traffic-related_death_rate

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        To expand on the firearm analogy

        Analogies to firearms are flawed.

        When assessing marksmanship, one measures how well one comes to hitting the center of the target. It’s a positive skill.

        When assessing driver safety, one measures how infrequently one crashes. It’s a negative measure.

        Good marksmanship is about shooting well. Safe driving is about not driving badly. These are opposite concepts.

        The drivers who are the safest are those who choose to act badly less often. Driving safety isn’t about getting there faster, or with more style, but with avoiding actions that increase the likelihood of crashing.

        The problem is that you don’t understand this distinction. Those who study drivers education do understand it, which is why that they know that it doesn’t work. I know that you don’t want to see it, but that’s the reality.

      • 0 avatar
        ihatetrees

        Analogies to firearms are not flawed.

        When assessing marksmanship, one’s skill is determined by the amount of error in aim, trigger discipline, breathing, stance, etc. There are no perfect shots, just differing amounts of imperfection.

        Just as in driving, there are no perfect drivers. When measuring driver safety, skill can be determined by properly flowing with traffic, obeying the right of way, being aware of vehicles around you, etc.

        Good marksmanship is about shooting well. Safe driving is about driving well. Both are mental and motor skill based abilities.
        Both can be improved with training.

        Societies with better trained drivers and more rational enforcement mechanisms show that they have fewer deaths per mile driven.
        If driver training and enforcement are completely irrelevant regarding traffic fatalities, what explains the safer roads of western Europe where traffic density and speeds are both much higher?

        Driving safety isn’t about getting there faster, or with more style, but with avoiding actions that increase the likelihood of crashing.

        That’s good. Couldn’t agree more with that ‘more style’ part. I’m all for executing people who drive with ‘more style’. I hate them all.

        The problem is that you don’t understand this distinction.

        I do. I never said/wrote otherwise.

        Those who study drivers education do understand it, which is why that they know that it doesn’t work. I know that you don’t want to see it, but that’s the reality.

        Those who watch people drive and deal with traffic report fatalities know the system is broken. Many fatalities are a function of near zero personal responsibility regarding driver standards and enforcement. Anyone can get a license to drive. And enforcement in many areas is mostly non-existent outside of speeding in a straight line on an empty highway.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I do. I never said/wrote otherwise.

        If you understood it, then you wouldn’t be using marksmanship as an analogy. There’s no relationship between the two.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I feel oppressed by the fact that the brake pedal is always to the left of the accelerator. Obviously, the communists have taken over automotive design.

    Fortunately, we have the soldiers of liberty such as Rob Finfrock to deliver us from evil. When we finally have cars with brake controls located next to the moonroof, then we will know that we are truly free.

    • 0 avatar
      Rob Finfrock

      Well that’s a ridiculous premise, but I’ll play along. If automakers ever determine the brake pedal should be moved to the roof, I think I’d be smart enough to adapt, unlike some. What I would never do is cry to the government because I wasn’t able to figure it out.

      You and your ilk are really nothing more than the background noise to society. A dull hum that we all hear, but no one really pays attention to.

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    What’s so hard about a big red EPO button on top of the dash like any industrial machinery?


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