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    Government members at the Capitol are considering a stringent safety regulation that would affect all new cars (octal, Flickr).

    by: Michael Zak | AOL Autos
     

    On the heels of government hearings regarding unintended acceleration, all cars sold in the U.S. could face a new rule that would require a brake override system.

    U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, made the comments after weeks of hearings into the 8.5-million vehicle recall of Toyota products, all of which centered around various forms of unintended acceleration and brake failure.

    "We are looking at the possibility of recommending the brake override system to all manufacturers of automobiles," LaHood said in his testimony in front of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. The committee is probing the recent Toyota recalls in Washington, D.C.

    How It Would Work

    What Do You Think?
    Is the government requiring brake override systems on all new vehicles a good idea?

    The system under consideration allows the driver to override the accelerator by returning the engine to idle if both the gas and brake pedals are being pressed at the same time, thus preventing unintended acceleration.

    In addition to Secretary LaHood, Sen. John Rockefeller (D-W. Va,), has stated that creating new laws to expand federal authority over automotive safety issues may be a necessary step to ensuring that another massive recall does not occur.

    "I do intend to work on comprehensive legislation to get at all of these issues in a real way. We need to look at current law and ask if it is strong enough to prevent something like this from happening again," Rockefeller said. “I know my colleagues have much to contribute to this effort, and I welcome it.”

    We spoke with our friend and technical expert Sam Abuelsamid of Autoblog.com about the potential change.

    "Essentially there is a form of logic in the engine's computer. What it does is it looks for the driver applying the brake pedal. If the throttle is open and the brake pedal is being pressed, the throttle is disabled," said Abuelsamid.

    "In terms of how this particular system would work, it would use a system of timers in the engine. The throttle would have to be open beyond a certain amount of time while the brake is being applied for a couple of seconds before the engine shuts off. It's not just going to be an instant engine shut off."

    Abuelsamid said that while government regulation will not bring the end of automotive safety recalls, exercising the authority in a proper way could certainly help.

    “Mistakes happen, unforeseen consequences happen," he said. "It's a fact of life. Regulators need to keep on top of complaints and have engineers on staff that understand the latest technology in order to do analysis.”

    When Toyota executives come to Capitol Hill this week to testify before Congress, how they make their case could very well affect how every automotive company functions.  If the Senate committee decides that an expansion of government authority is necessary, every new car in the U.S. will be required to have an installed brake override system, regardless of their past safety record.

    Such an act seems warranted for Toyota, but is it really fair to impose regulations on auto companies that have not had problems with unintended acceleration?

    “Yes. What happened with Toyota could happen to anyone,” Abuelsamid said. “Some automakers have already taken the actions to prevent this problem, but the next issue could and likely will pop up anywhere. The increasing dependence on electronics and software will make it some ways more difficult to reproduce and diagnose problems.”

    It’s too soon to tell what the consequences of the government probe into Toyota will be, but there may very well be a government mandated brake override system included on your next new vehicle, Toyota or not.

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    1 - 20 of 281 Comments
    TEischen Feb 16, 2011 2:59 PM
    Does ANYONE argue for fair trade. Japan limits TOTAL import to no more than 2% of 8 million GNP of cars. Aprox 40,000 cars from America are allowed in. Some of these are Hondas etc because they are larger than domestic autos. The 4th qtr of 2008, The Bush dept signed on with Chinas to imports cars. $200 for Chinas cars imported to the USA, but $2,000 for American cars exported to China. Korea allows 3,500 american imports. Big O did get the usa a new trade policy, 25,000 autos per mfg. will now be allowed. There is a 8% terriff and a tax aduit. (findings by the WTO) Who has a business plan to stay in business under this operation. Your competitors can sell in your territory, but you are limited on how to sell your product. Let the best car win, but Korea and Japan had there free ride. Toyota hired 8,000 workers back after the cash for clunkers; in Japan. They did shut down the American plants though. I have heard that MY car is built in the USA. Yes, so is GM, Ford. Americans only buy so many cars a year. Japan is 8 million, USA 12 million. Its where the money goes to. The shareholders, R&D, Improvements for the factory, etc. When a unfair trade is done, you displace a job/product from here. Hyundai built there first USA plant with 300-500 Korean suppliers to supply this auto factory. It is not only the factory but the suppliers also. I have heard that America can not build a reliable auto. Suzuki for 2009 was the lease recommended used auto. Hyundai was noted that NONE of there autos can be recommended. This was by Consumers report. These are the owners who wont look at American poducts. I am just saying that America needs a level field.
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    glenvts2 May 08, 2010 7:54 PM
    I would never trust Toyota now...money rather than your safety.
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    brooksstudio Apr 22, 2010 10:43 AM
    This is stupid. Just fix the dam problem! Go back to just good old auto engineering and simplicity. I have a Camry and will think long and hard before I will buy another one. I feel like that they lowered their quality assurance to speed up production so thay could sell more cars, thus the problem and the proposed rediculous brake override. Just something else to increase the cost of the cars and something else to break.
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    tk2105 Mar 22, 2010 3:12 PM
    Toyota executives have known for nearly a decade that faulty electronic throttle controls caused vehicles to sometimes careen wildly out of control but covered it up to protect the company's reputation for safety â€&*****************; and its stock price. The company has not issued any recalls involving flaws in the electronic throttles and has repeatedly denied they are the problem. KEEP DRIVING THESE JUNK BOXES
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    devilfan918 Mar 16, 2010 11:51 AM
    better idea... require all cars to have a manual transmission. car accelerates rapidly, step on the clutch, end the issue. if in ten years, i get a new car and it has this, i am disabling the ******* thing... oh, and i only say manual because apparently people who drive automatics don't know how to slip their car into neutral
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    patersdj Mar 15, 2010 8:22 PM
    please no more mandated safety systems they are unnecessary and EXPENSIVE. Just put a kill button on the dash and make it part of the drivers test or insurance exam that you know where it is and what it does for the few untrained or poor operators that cannot properly operate a motor vehicle.
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    banddkel Mar 10, 2010 7:22 PM
    Please, do not follow me in your Toy. I make frequent stops, and do not want you to hurt yourself as you destroy your Toy in my Chevy bumper. I guarantee, I will walk away and YOU, WILL PAY$$$ ( :^))
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    comp740 Mar 10, 2010 3:40 AM
    Are all you TOYATO owner/drivers so dumb at the fact that if you own one of these death traps to take some extra precaution on your own and fix something to kill the engine before it kills you or others?? When the car is in a run away mode you hit the shifter into neutral and or turn off the ING switch, and if you have no key switch I would suggest that you wire or have one wired in from the battery to the dash so you can switch off the battery power to the ECM (computer) or wire the switch from the fuel pump wire directly to the dash as this will stop your fuel pump when turned off and that will stop the engine. Yes your power brakes will be not so easy to apply (but they still work) so you will have to appliy more pressure on the brake peddle and use the emergence brake as well and you will have control. Lean to drive and not panic just because something is out of control learn away to control it sense everyone knows something is wrong with that car which you own. This is just a temporary fix but a fix that will work and save your live and others as well. Don't wait on the GOVT or the Dealer to getaround to safe your life fix something your self. it sure as hell wont hurt. One morething I'd like to say. Stay off the rear bumper of the one your following as you have no where to go if your car takes off. If you drive behind another car leave a space cussion as you might need it for a quick resopnse to make a safe move in traffic. Drive Safely as the Live You Save May be Your Own. Drag Racer
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    bj3878 Mar 09, 2010 8:39 PM
    On December 03 2008, I had the bad fortune of having my Mercedes SLK 350 run wild and I was able to miss all the cars that I almost hit that were even close to me.I missed the cars because Mercedes has a great turning ratio and because they built a strong driver and passenger compartment that I am alive today..The car went end over rear end three times and knocked down a tree,and I awoke upside down suspended in my seat belt. I was awakend by my GPS telling me my airbags had deployed and they had called the Police and Fire Dept exactly like the ad that GM has. I spent most of the month of December 2008 in the hospital, and am still not able to go to work and here it s 15 months later and am still under several Doctors care weekly. My problem happened a year earlier than Toyotas problem, so I agree that whatever is done should be done to all the cars Too many peaple seem to think this is a joke and that the Gov. should not be involved,I DISAGREE with that kind of thinking. Last summer a Supreme Court Justice in Las Vegas had her car get away from her and run into a UPS store, before it stopped. You have no idea with the car out of control how scary it was.knowing you were going to be hurt and not able to stop. .
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    wallyjo45 Mar 09, 2010 8:07 PM
    Do the people who have unintended acceleration never think to put the transmission in neutral?? And if Toyota has not designed an ignition with a key maybe they should!!!
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    rufctr Mar 09, 2010 7:47 PM
    There are multiple problems here, but they can all be addressed very easily. Creating another system to over-ride a "stuck" throttle is not the solution. As a Toyota trained automotive technician and a lover of all things car related, I can tell you the that IN MY OPINION the issues are with programming inside the ECU in addition to the issues with the accelerator pedal itself. A simple line of code telling the ECU to allow the engine to be shut off even if the throttle is pinned wide-open would be the best solution to all of this, assuming you could educate the public enough to shut the car off. Now, considering that the majority of customers I have dealt with can't even find the owner's manual, educating the public would be a major challenge. The next best solution is what they have come up with; but instead of the ignition shutting the vehicle off, it is a feedback switch on the brake pedal that sends a signal to the ECU to return to idle if the throttle is pinned wide open. In theory this sounds great, but there are a ton of people who use both feet to drive an automatic equipped car and therefore left-foot-brake and leave their foot on the brake while they are moving. I know this because there are brake lights on the car while it is accelerating away from a stop. The real solution to all of this is to make driver's licenses harder to get and make sure the public is completely educated on emergency situations while operating a motor vehicle. That solution will not be popular, but until actually driving the vehicle becomes the driver's primary concern (not reading the paper, playing with a phone, putting on makeup, etc.) you will continue to have more and more accidents, plain and simple.
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    brsunrise Mar 09, 2010 7:39 PM
    The last thing we need is another law imposing congressional requirements on brakes. Do u think Toyota will not fix the problem? GM, Ford and Chrysler have had far worse problems in the past and they were never villified like this. What is really going on is that "we" are angry that the Japanese took the auto market away from the big three.....we should be mad at the Board of Directors and the management of those US companies. In the end they got what they deserve but look at the damage in getting there.
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    pwrsound1 Mar 09, 2010 6:49 PM
    Yeah JohnKathyJones - absolutely! I. Someone cant shove the shifter into nuetral? Even if you keep the engine running to preserve the power brakes and steering, the engine will probably not be hurt badly as most engines have an automatic governor that stops redlining (atleast mine does). II. Wouldnt it be prudent for Toyota, in the meantime, to tell people about this instead of leaving the public to their imaginations of cars careening off bridges, slamming into toll booths or reaching the speed of light because they cant stop the car??? III. Last I heard, this was a TOYOTA problem. Likely corners were cut to garner added profit in 2010. Why is it being considered that all automakers need to put this safety device in their cars. I cant think of a time when this has ever happened before. Even the Audi story of the late eighties turned out to be a hokes. Just another little way for gov to get their hands into businesses, cost the public millions$ in the developement of a new committee to enforce this law and most importantly, providing a way for a politician to get his or her name in paper re. "Sen. John Smith voted to save trillions of lives by instituting the gasoline overide button in all cars sold in America". Then there will certainly be some ficticious statistic of how many lives were saved- A sure bet for reelection!
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    cfb33774 Mar 09, 2010 5:53 PM
    To johnkathyjones: There is no key to turn off! How do you stop an electric motor that is probably controlled by either mechanical or solid state relays that can short out? They need a master circuit breaker to kill the electric motor on the Hybrids and a reliable valve to stop the fuel flow on gas power cars. cfb
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    blu88e Mar 09, 2010 5:51 PM
    is all toyota vehicles recaledd or just some of them
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    johnkathyjones Mar 09, 2010 5:07 PM
    Put the car in neutral using the shifter.....what is so hard about that? Turn the ingnition key off to kill the motor..... what is so hard??? Even though power brakes and power steering is compromised they still work!!!!!!!!!
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    lazchaz Mar 09, 2010 3:47 PM
    2009 lxe camry HOW SAFE ARE WE DRIVING THIS CAR?????? WHAT IS TOYOTA GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?????
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    lazchaz Mar 09, 2010 3:47 PM
    2009 lxe camry HOW SAFE ARE WE DRIVING THIS CAR?????? WHAT IS TOYOTA GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?????
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    mobildj50 Mar 09, 2010 3:10 PM
    Great, and should the override system fail, do we get legislation for a redundant override system? I have yet to learn who made the part. Was it Toyota? Was it another Chinese death trap such as dry wall, kids toys, etc. Not sure if the Chinese were involved in this one but someone keep an eye on them. Toxic and dangerous products have been coming out of China for some time now.
    Report This
    mobildj50 Mar 09, 2010 3:10 PM
    Great, and should the override system fail, do we get legislation for a redundant override system? I have yet to learn who made the part. Was it Toyota? Was it another Chinese death trap such as dry wall, kids toys, etc. Not sure if the Chinese were involved in this one but someone keep an eye on them. Toxic and dangerous products have been coming out of China for some time now.
    Report This
    1 - 20 of 281 Comments
     
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    On the heels of government hearings regarding unintended acceleration, all cars sold in the U.S. could face a new rule that would require a brake override system.
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