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Corporate Shills and Apologists (Blaming Toyota Drivers)

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News media and other idiots are clearly working hard to create a public perception that it is not defective Toyota vehicles that are running away because of sudden, uncontrolled acceleration. No, to believe the countless stories being hyped, we are supposed to blame Toyota drivers, especially older ones who are the problem. What nonsense!

I have no doubt that there are countless PR people, consultants and attorneys working hard on Toyota's behalf to reduce the richly deserved disillusionment with Toyota and its ludicrous attempts to fault floor mats and brake pedals rather than a much more complex and mysterious problem with their electronic control systems.

Enormous media attention was given to tests on a Prius vehicle belonging to San Diego resident James Sikes, 61. These tests last week were conducted by people from Toyota and the next to useless National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Technicians could not duplicate what Sikes experienced. Actually, all they tried to duplicate was the inability to stop the car when both acceleration and braking were produced. In fact, the car was stopped. So what? What they could not create was the core problem: unwanted sudden acceleration. Their tests proved nothing.

It is particularly relevant that a number of runaway Toyota incidents have occurred months apart on the same vehicles. This means that these cars could behave perfectly normally nearly all the time, but that sudden acceleration events also occur mysteriously and unpredictably. No one can duplicate these sudden acceleration events because no one, especially Toyota engineers, has a clue why these events happen. All the real evidence, though circumstantial, points to some bizarre problem with the electronic control system.

NHTSA bought the gas pedal, throttle and two onboard computers from the Sikes vehicle for $2,500. That means that there may be some hope that traditional failure analysis methods might be used to find out through exhaustive testing and analysis exactly what is really going on. Something that Toyota has not done. If there is a highly complex defect in, perhaps, a semiconductor chip, for example, that only manifests itself under certain conditions, then really sophisticated examination might find it.

But it is a sick sign of corporate corruption that some members of Congress and so many in the mainstream media (that benefit from considerable Toyota advertising) so eagerly look for opportunities to blame Toyota drivers. Are we really to believe that so many indisputable runaway Toyotas result from elderly drivers pushing hard on their gas pedals rather than their brakes? Nonsense!

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And let us not be misdirected away from the core sudden acceleration problem and distracted by attempts to focus attention on why drivers cannot easily stop their runaway cars. In some cars, for example, getting a car into neutral also depends on the same electronics control system as just about everything else, including acceleration. The brake materials on the Sikes car were, indeed, totally burned up. So, he really did try like hell to stop his car. Do we really think that just because he is in serious debt that he also pressed hard on his gas pedal to get it going over 90 mph? Nonsense!

If Toyota is working hard to blame drivers rather than take responsibility for their runaway cars, then there is even more reason to condemn the company.

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Joel S. Hirschhorn is the author of Delusional Democracy - Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government. His current political writings have been greatly influenced by working as a senior staffer for the U.S. Congress and for the (more...)

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I choose to believe almost none of the commentary ... by Paul Karsh on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 4:58:08 PM