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SAmadei

Toyota's runaway-car worries may not stop at floor mats

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One possible remedy is to redesign the accelerator pedal to make it harder to get caught by a floor mat, he said. Another potential fix, he said, involves reprogramming the engine's computer to automatically cut power when a driver brakes while the gas pedal is depressed.

Such fail-safes are needed, auto experts say, because sudden acceleration can cause drivers to panic, diminishing their ability to take swift action -- such as shutting off the engine or shifting into neutral.

If anybody should have known how to stop an out-of-control car, it was Saylor, who was trained in emergency and high-speed driving as a 19-year CHP veteran. But a close look at the Lexus ES 350 raises questions about whether the car's very design may have compromised Saylor's skills.

One obvious line of defense is to simply shut off the engine, a step that may not be intuitive on the ES 350. The car has a push-button start system, activated by the combination of a wireless electronic fob carried by the driver and a button on the dashboard.

But once the vehicle is moving, the engine will not shut off unless the button is held down for a full three seconds -- a period of time in which Saylor's car would have traveled 528 feet. A driver may push the button repeatedly, not knowing it requires a three-second hold.

"When you are dealing with an emergency, you can't wait three seconds for the car to respond at 120 miles an hour," said Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety.

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Push button start seems so lame..what's wrong w/ a normal ignition key approach?

I think its the computer/ipod culture as applied to cars. I want the opposite... I want to start my computer by turning an ignition key!

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Paging SMK.... PAGING SMK.....

Push button start is one of the items on his "must have" list for a car to be any good.

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I like push-button start but it certainly needs to be explained to somebody renting a car or buying a car with that feature installed.

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I wonder how many people with push button start know how to cut the engine like that and if the systems differ. Until now that is a question I admit would not have asked.

That does indeed shed some light on this.

http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/200...ll-fatal-crash/

Graphic.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/m...edia/car911.mp3

Edited by FloydHendershot
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I like push-button start but it certainly needs to be explained to somebody renting a car or buying a car with that feature installed.

I've never seen the value in push button start...maybe some buyers lack sufficient wrist strength to twist a key? Are people really that lazy today?

I'm capable of reaching in my pocket and pushing the unlock button on the fob to unlock the car as I approach it, as well as pulling out the key and fob, inserting it into the 'ignitiion' and twisting said ignition to start the car. As well as twisting said ignition the opposite direction to shut off the car. And then push to lock button on the fob to lock the car as I walk away... What's so difficult about that workflow? I just don't get it...

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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I've never seen the value in push button start...maybe some buyers lack sufficient wrist strength to twist a key?

Some people like to make "vroom vroom" noises while the car is in park, too.

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Some people like to make "vroom vroom" noises while the car is in park, too.

I have a friend that always rests his hand on the automatic shifter while driving so he can pretend that he's shifting while driving...

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Here is the main reason why I like it:

I never have to take the key fob out of my pocket.

No need to unlock the doors, just pull on the handle and it opens for me. No need to put the key in the ignition just push a button.

I guess part of this comes from my bus driving days. No keys in transit buses either. Just turn the knob and push the button.

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The idea of carrying around a fob in your pocket and having your car unlock/lock automatically, plus push a button to start with no need to mess around with a key, sounds great. But having to hold the button down 3-seconds to stop the engine while running is no good. It isn't intuitive. Perhaps a good compromise would be to have a normal-looking ignition switch, that is rotated just like a regular one (one notch for accessories, two notches for "on", and all the way to start; like a normal car). The main difference being that a key would not have to be inserted.

Push button starts FTL.

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On my Cadillac, even though it was key start, if you flicked the key to start, the computer would take over and finish the start sequence. You couldn't "understart" the car... for lack of a better word.

edit: wow! my grammar suffers when I'm distracted

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On my Cadillac, even though it was key start, if you flicked the key to start, the computer would take over and finish the start sequence. You couldn't "understart" the car... for lack of a better word.

edit: wow! my grammar suffers when I'm distracted

My Cobalt is the same way. I'm so used to the 'flick-start' now that when I get in other cars I'm always confused why they won't start, then I have to remember that most cars need the starter held on manually.

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This makes me wonder how long the Lexus was in possession of the CHP officer. If this was the first time he took it out, I can see him being unfamiliar with the start/stop protocols. But if he'd driven it around before, he should've been aware of the 3-second hold for stop. I mean, he wouldn't have gotten out of the car and just let it sit running in his driveway or a parking lot until he needed it again.

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This makes me wonder how long the Lexus was in possession of the CHP officer. If this was the first time he took it out, I can see him being unfamiliar with the start/stop protocols. But if he'd driven it around before, he should've been aware of the 3-second hold for stop. I mean, he wouldn't have gotten out of the car and just let it sit running in his driveway or a parking lot until he needed it again.

Being he was a CHP officer I heard he often practiced the "duck and roll" method of egress to the dismay of his family and never tried to exit the car while it was stopped. This is actually quite common for those in law enforcement as they feel this helps keep them sharp.

The point of 3 seconds as an emergency kill switch is so it doesn't have an 'oops' on the highway. Some "kill" switch. A misnomer and at the same time, not.

Edited by FloydHendershot
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Flick it into neutral and let the rev limiter do it's job.

Sounds like the ES has an interlock to prevent it from going into to neutral when moving. Sounds like a lot of bad design all the way around, starting with the stupid push button..

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Flick it into neutral and let the rev limiter do it's job.

Neutral might stop you from accelerating but won't necessarily slow you down if going downhill for instance. Throwing it into a lower gear would certainly help if the car's programming allows you to. I would take that chance even at 120 and hope or the best.

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Sounds like the ES has an interlock to prevent it from going into to neutral when moving. Sounds like a lot of bad design all the way around, starting with the stupid push button..

Srsly? I've never had a car that did that.

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Neutral might stop you from accelerating but won't necessarily slow you down if going downhill for instance. Throwing it into a lower gear would certainly help if the car's programming allows you to. I would take that chance even at 120 and hope or the best.

Only the gas pedal was stuck... not the brake.

I'll amend my statement to include what I thought was bleedin obvious.

"Flick the car into neutral and let the rev limiter do it's job.... and then press the brake."

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Srsly? I've never had a car that did that.

There were something to that fact in one of the earlier threads on this subject..

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Only the gas pedal was stuck... not the brake.

I'll amend my statement to include what I thought was bleedin obvious.

"Flick the car into neutral and let the rev limiter do it's job.... and then press the brake."

Yes, this is true but whatever 'credible' info out there about this indicated the brakes were cooked. Now, that can mean the car was shifted to N and he tried that or he couldn't do that at all or X factor. This partially supported by his background and or training. It is not always so bleeding obvious. :AH-HA_wink: :smilewide:

But, yes your suggestion should be first course of action in a situation as tragic as this one turned out.

Edited by FloydHendershot
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Yes, this is true but whatever 'credible' info out there about this indicated the brakes were cooked. Now, that can mean the car was shifted to N and he tried that or he couldn't do that at all or X factor. This partially supported by his background and or training. It is not always so bleeding obvious. :AH-HA_wink: :smilewide:

But, yes your suggestion should be first course of action in a situation as tragic as this one turned out.

It was an out of control car...I say slam it up against the guardrail and let FRICTION stop the damned thing.

I am going to see what happens on the M5 if you slap it to N or press the start button while it is moving. Be good to know if mine did this.

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Well then it's not entirely the floormat's fault. Even flipping it into neutral would have stopped the acceleration. I doubt the brakes were cooked when they got the car. If they were cooked by the end of this incident it's likely because he didn't flip it into neutral...otherwise we'd be hearing about a recall of Lexus brakes.

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