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Saturday, March 06, 2010

In Defense Of ETC, Part 3

A comment on my previous post, by user "Ming", pointed out the trend of the total number of unintended acceleration complaints to NHTSA over the years.

2000: 1415
2001: 1345
2002: 1460
2003: 1446
2004: 1426
2005: 1112
2006: 878
2007: 876
2008: 456
2009: 251
Now, what is interesting in this is that over this period, the number of complaints were cut dramatically, even though the number of new cars on the road increased. Also, and this is key, in the year 2000 many cars were still using mechanical throttle systems.

By 2009, almost all cars now use electronic throttle systems.

Yet, unintended acceleration complaints were reduced dramatically.

Another point of proof, that ETC systems are at least as safe, if not more safe, than mechanical throttles!


Anonymous said...

I wonder what the ratio of deaths versus acceleration issues is and what the trend is? I did read where there are over 50 deaths associated to Toyota's current engineering problems. That alone makes me slightly suspicious that while incidents are lower the ability of the driver to counteract them is more difficult and time consuming.

It also seems the major problem for Toyota is how they have handled the issue for the last 3 years internally and then dropped the PR ball recently. If there was an internal cover up, wow. that isn't good.

All in all, look back to what happened to Audi and Firestone. Having problems is one thing but never let it make the news like it did. The drive by media feast on this sort of stuff.

Anonymous said...

Electronic throttle control is not the same as software controlled...

Anonymous said...

Somehow I mistrust the owners of Government Motors more than Toyota's engineers. No, their PR guys didn't read the Tylenol case in marketing class but I am 60 and driving my 10th Toyota, an 09 Venza. Just drove it on a 600 mile round trip this weekend with nary a problem. Put the thing in neutral and turn off the ignition fercryinoutloud. Of course these folks blame it on the car, "Operator error" doesn't get you a settlement via a hotshot trial lawyer so the lawyers' congressional Dem paralegals are going to aid their cases by subpeonas to "congressional hearings" paid witch hunts. When the President of the United States can fire the President of GM with no uproar, you can bet that stuff like this will continue to happen. Its just basic backroom Chicago wardheeling politics at its finest!

Anonymous said...

Put the car in neutral, good. Turn the key off, bad! If you slip (and while you are doing this you are apt to be just a bit excited) you lock the steering column. Even if you don't, you kill the power steering and power brakes when you shut down the engine.

joated said...

I too saw a report that said there were 50 deaths in runaway Toyotas. But, looking at all the statistics (number of Toyotas on the road, etc.) it was shown you've a much, much higher chance of being killed by a lightening strike, I'll keep driving by Tundra.

NMM1AFan said...

Ok, but the electronic throttle in my Corolla has absolutely no feel whatsoever. I hate stalling the car because the ECU doesn't give me throttle when I want it.

StormCchaser said...

You forgot to put in the graph the number and profits of class action lawyers - surely relevant :-)

Anonymous said...

As a trucker who has logged nearly 2 million miles driving semi trucks with electronic throttle/ ECM control I have never heard of any issues with trucks such as Toyota is having now. Regardless, electronic/ECM throttle control is far safer than the old style mechanical fuel pump controlled with a throttle cable. The cables were known to stick, break, or the accelerator return spring would break. In the old days you learned to carry an extra cable and return spring in your tool box.

Anonymous said...

I'm a diesel mechanic, I've never seen or heard of a throttle position sensor or ECM failing to anything other than the idle position.

Guest_user said...

ETC doesn't need a defense; what needs a defense is why Toyota had not included an override in the brake circuit. You note that an obvious benefit to ETC is being able to modify user inputs to do BETTER than what the user alone could achieve with a mechanical system. No arguments there; so, why didn't Toyota include an obvious safety mechanism that such a system can provide?

An Average American said...

Toyota didn't include an obvious safety feature like an override in the brake circuit because of cost. How much could it cost you say? It's probably just a couple of lines of code.

That couple of lines of code has to be integrated into the other 300 million lines of code in the car and tested, and tested and tested some more.

Anonymous said...

Anyone have the answer to the rumor that you can select neutral, but the car remains in gear if the throttle is open. This avoids overrevving? Also the rumor that in keyless models, pushing the start/stop button in a moving car has a three second delay before cutting the ignition? Seems like with a full throttle engine fighting the antilock brakes you could travel 100 yards or more before the car begins to stop.

The Auto Prophet said...

Re: Rumor,

It is a rumor. The truth is, you can shut down a push-to-start car typically by pressing and holding the starter button. Also, the transmission can always be put in neutral.

You just have to know how to control your vehicle.