Ask The Best And Brightest: Mandatory Brake Overrides?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

In testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Energy and Transportation, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he was “looking at the possibility of recommending” mandatory brake override systems on all new vehicles sold in the US. Given the congressional hysteria about auto safety in the past few weeks (not to mention the already-expectant MSM headlines), such a requirement would likely face little political opposition. When Toyota first announced that it would be installing the buzz-worthy “failsafe” system on its new cars, we whined that the days of doing burnouts in Mom’s autobox IS350 were over. Which, frankly, was fairly petty of us. At this point it’s become fairly clear that, whether there are unfound defects still lurking in the evil minds of our appliance-mobiles or not, Americans need to feel that they could stop their cars in a worst case demonic possession scenario. So let them eat brake override systems, say I. At least until I hear someone advocating for mandatory manual transmissions.

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  • William442 William442 on Mar 03, 2010

    In spite of all the discussions in the car magazines, I was never co-ordinated enough to heel and toe.

  • BMWfan BMWfan on Mar 03, 2010

    @ Robert.Walter, Robert, If you read the story at this link, you will see why I am waiting for the "fix" to shake out. This recall is being performed under stress, and I for one do not think it was well thought out. I will wait for cooler heads to prevail.,0,2270669.story

  • Neil08 Neil08 on Mar 03, 2010

    The vast majority of drivers simply want a car that takes them reliably and safely from A to B. They are not would be racers who like to play with their cars. They drive automatics and expect the brakes to work at all times with the effectiveness they are used to. This why brake power assist must be guaranteed at all times, regardless of engine throttle setting. Faced with unintended acceleration, most drivers would try the brakes a few times, thus losing all vacuum brake boost. They would become terrified as the brakes appeared to fail This is why car manufacturers must idle the engine when brakes are applied, to maintain brake power assist and to ensure that the average driver can safely bring the car to a stop.

    • Scott Schoemann Scott Schoemann on Mar 05, 2010

      Neil, if pumping your brakes is bleeding off the vacuum in your booster, even at full throttle you have a mechanical problem you need to deal with. the booster is a closed chamber and the vacuum is set as long as the intake plenum is not under a positive pressure. And that is even becoming a moot point as new vehicles are switching over to an mechanical rather than vacuum driven power brake system. The real issue here isn't the vehicle equipment even though that is what is causing the problem. The real issue IS the lack of education as the school systems across the country are cutting driver education from high school curriculum. 30 plus years back when I took drivers ed I was taught about how the ignition switch functions as a KILL SWITCH, something that "sears easy method" simply does not do. It's all about the dumbing down of the masses. Just look at how many people are driving down the road on what adds up to a flat tire and either don't care or simply do not know...

  • Accs Accs on Mar 11, 2010

    I know this is odd.... But who takes a 5-10yr old LS out for a burnout.. and is excited?