YATUAS: Yet Another Toyota Unintended Acceleration Story…

Cammy Corrigan
by Cammy Corrigan
yatuas yet another toyota unintended acceleration story

I’m not actually that cynical a person. Honestly. I want to see the best in everything, but 9 times out of 10, my cynical side is normally proven right. So, pardon me as I cast a caustic eye at the following lines.

Milwaukee’s WISN reports that a Myrna Marseilles crashed her 2009 Toyota Camry into a wall of a YMCA in her hometown Sheboygan Falls, Wis., while she was trying to park the car. “All of a sudden, there was this very loud noise and the car shot forward and hit the wall,” Miss Marseilles said. “There wasn’t time to think what I might do because the car was zipping toward the building.”

As luck would have it, the crash happened just steps from the Sheboygan Falls police station, so response was instant.

Police Chief Steven Riffel said: “It was a pretty good impact. There was a pretty good amount of damage to the front end of the vehicle.” There are also cracks in the YMCA, and Ms. Marseilles fractured her sternum. The NHTSA will investigate. There even is a surveillance video of the scene. If this is UA, that surveillance video will blow YouTube’s servers.

Far from me to suggest that we’re dealing with another Jim “No, seriously. It really happened” Sikes, but I have left out one salient point. Miss Myrna Marseilles is 76 years young.

We have another Toyota that has developed “a mind of its own” while the driver just happens to be one of the more mature members of society. Seriously, can anyone find a Toyota acceleration story where the driver is under 40? I’m not the only person to think this. John Voelcker of the Car Connection wrote a piece highlighting the same point (complete with a pretty graph).

Another point which makes me think that this is a case of driver error is that Miss Marseilles’ car was recently repaired as part of the Toyota recall program. A Toyota spokesman said that Toyota had started an investigation into the matter.

Which brings me onto another issue (that’s right, you get 2 blogs for the price of one! Aren’t I good value?), CNN reports that the NHTSA is enlisting the help of those brainiacs at Cape Canaveral, NASA. They’ve enlisted them on account of the heavy criticism heaped on the NHTSA for lacking technological expertise. But don’t think the NASA brains will take a quick look at a Camry and work out the problems. The study is expected to be completed by summer. At which time the NHTSA will decide whether they will start a formal investigation. Meanwhile, the National Academy of Sciences is also going to perform an investigation into Toyota’s “Christine” cars. Their study will last 15 months.

Don’t think Toyota’s March sales figures are going to kill this whole issue. LaHood will milk this for all it’s worth. And TTAC calls for a joint AAA-AARP investigation.

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2 of 39 comments
  • Another_pleb Another_pleb on Mar 31, 2010

    Maybe car makers should take a leaf out of the books of motor-boat makers and have a wheel and a throttle lever which you push forward to go forward and pull back to brake and then reverse when the car has come to a stop. Sticking with the nautical theme, maybe the car's brake over-ride system could be activated by seven or more short blasts of the horn followed by one long blast. Or perhaps people could be made to learn to drive properly and be expected to demonstrate this and take responsibility for their actions when the screw up.

  • Dynamic88 Dynamic88 on Mar 31, 2010
    Far from me to suggest that we’re dealing with another Jim “No, seriously. It really happened” Sikes, but I have left out one salient point. Miss Myrna Marseilles is 76 years young. I'm tired of this blame the elderly crap. A moment's reflection would tell you that if elderly drivers are the chief cause, then Buick would be a leader in SUA cases. But Buick isn't. The problem is with the Toyotas. No matter how badly pistonheads want to blame driver error, it just isn't stacking up that way if you look at the stats.