2016 Toyota RAV4 - Unintended Acceleration

pulled into parking spot slowly with foot on break. Engine took off and jumped the curb goin up a mound of dirt and
mulch. Took out 4 large bushes and scratched front end of car. While I had my foot on brake and hard as I could

And your question is…what?

99% of the time it’s called “pedal misapplication “. Assuming you don’t have a loose floor mat under the pedal.


Something like that happened to a co-worker one time. She drove her car from the parking lot right through the glass double door entryway and 10 yards into the office, taking out the door & 5 cubicles. Fortunately it was at lunch time, cubicles empty, nobody was injured. Later she said she must have made a mistake and instead was pressing on the gas pedal or the gas pedal/brake at the same time. As the car accelerated toward the building she of course pressed harder, which made the car accelerate more. Other things could cause it too. OP should have their shop carefully inspect the pedal area, and if nothing found there, b/c this car’s throttle is probably a drive-by-wire design, the accelerator pedal position sensor(s) operation.

Well I’m still a believer in computer glitches from time to time. Computers are only as good as the programmers and environmental conditions I believe can also cause problems. It was reported that Boeing hired $9 programmers from India that may have caused the software glitches causing the planes to crash. If they did it, how would it not also be done by auto manufacturers. Credible people have had the same issues so they can’t all be pushing the wrong pedal. Even Bruce Williams (the talk show host) sued Chrysler over repeated unintended acceleration. I do believe it happens from time to time.

To me that is another problem with distracted driver’s I have see a few people the year’s do that or for whatever reason lose brake’s keep masing harder on brake pedal or pump the heck out it if you think about it either put in nuetral or use e brake as e stand’s for emergensey .

I remember when the Toyota Camry first began to use a “drive by wire” throttle body, and there was a big scandal over unintended acceleration, which the manufacturer claimed was due to “floor mats”. I, for one, did not believe the explanation that floor mats were causing the pedal to stick, because if that was true, it should have happened even on older models which used a cable-activated spring-return throttle body. The “service campaign” applied only to models with an electronic throttle body.

Fortunately, I do not own a car with any “drive by wire” features, and when shopping for a used car, I make sure to avoid models which have them.

If I had an unintended acceleration incident, I’d give serious consideration to installing a dashcam aimed at the pedals so that if it happened again I’d have proof that the accelerator wasn’t pressed.


The DOT study of the Toyota problem found it was floor mats and hitting the gas by mistake. The fine was for Toyota not following the rules as far as reporting data to the government.

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Maybe. However $9 is probably the going rate in India, and unrelated to their training or ability to program a computer. If there’s a problem w/using foreign computer programmers, more likely to do w/communication and social aspects of the job. To be a good computer programmer you have to be able to understand exactly what your program is supposed to accomplish, what specifically it must not do, and develop a method to test conclusively for both. On a practical level this means the programmer has to ask a lot of questions, some of them potentially embarrassing both to them and to whoever is being asked. I expect the questioning aspec might be problem for some foreign computer programmers. The might not want to demonstrate they didn’t know something, or didn’t want to offend their supervisors … etc etc …

Electronic throttle control was introduced on the Camry in 2001 for the 2002 model year vehicles.

The crash that killed 4 and caught public attention occurred in August, 2009. An off duty highway patrol man was driving a loaned 2009 Lexus. That vehicle was a sedan and had improper fitting SUV floor mats installed. The key problem wasn’t the floor mat but the absence of a fail safe, other manufactures use a brake over-ride feature that disables the throttle if the brake pedal is applied for a certain amount of time. That feature was added during the “floor mat” recall.

A class action law suit resulted in Toyota providing an additional 10 year warranty to the components associated to the electronic throttle control system.

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My understanding is they were from India but across the street and not in India. The engineers said they had a hard time communicating what they needed with the programmers. So when Toyota did the mat recall, they did a software upgrade too, huh? Still I think the black box would tell what pedal was pressed at the end.

That would be the passive restraint module, if there was a deployment there would be data recorded showing vehicle speed, brake pedal, accelerator position and other information. Ten years later Toyota has not been vindicated of the malfunctions that lead to the crashes.

According to the DOT it has.

$9 for an engineering job in India is a decent wage. Cost of living there is extremely low. They are also some of the most skilled engineers in the world. Their Institute of Science (IISC) is top notch. I know people who got turned down by that school, and given full scholarships to MIT and Harvard and then finished top in their class.

It’s NOT the individual programmers that were at fault. It’s the overall design and best practices Boeing was using that was the problem. The software was designed HERE IN THE STATES. The task of implementing that design was here in the US and India.

The problem lays completely in the lap of Boeing management and trying to cut costs. Instead of designing a new plane to compete with the new fuel efficient Airbus they decided to retrofit the 737 with more efficient engines that caused a lot of engineering challenges that they didn’t overcome.


Like I said they were from India and not in India but sounded like they were just across the street from Boeing. But the engineers had a hard time communicating their requirements with the programmers. I guess nothing against them but sounds like it was a process with a high risk of error.

I do remember the auto club using off-shore sources for their 24 hr dispatch and the person could not find the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport, so communication and basic knowledge can be an issue. Geeze I can even find Keokuk on the map. Another time I remember having trouble reporting my location with the Interstate and mile marker so I just told him to tell the tow driver the mile marker and NB I 35 and don’t worry about it.

I have a very hard time believing that. India education system is taught in English. The higher the education the more competent they are at English. Over the years I’ve worked with dozens and dozens of engineers from India. Many live and work in India, and some were hired here in the states and brought over from India. While here was an accent, there was no communication problem. Especially in the written from.

I know this is Car Talk and not Boeing Talk, but Boeing violated a couple of fundamental rules of Aviation Safety. The MCAS operated on only one input, the AOA (angle of attack) probe. It should have had at least two inputs that had to verify each other, which in the US versions did. The US versions had a second AOA.

The other flaw was allowing it to override the pilot. This could be OK if there was only one pilot as the pilot could have had a health crisis, but there are two pilots in commercial airlines. These planes also have a radar altimeter that provides altitude and attitude below 5000 feet. An input from that would have made all the difference.

The 737 MAX actually was a completely new aircraft, but the airlines wanted it to fly exactly like an older 737 so pilot training could be reduced. The MCAS was technically not a safety item, it was installed to counter a different flight characteristic of the new plane to make it feel like the old one, but it should never have been allowed to override all the other safety items.

Unlikely. That doesn’t meet the H1B visa standard of $50k/yr. Since Boeing is a government contractor they are audited almost constantly.

Outsourcing has been a huge problem in Software for several decades now. As an engineer I can’t compete with an engineer living in India. I could make more money working at Home Depot.

In the article below it does say there are engineers from HCL (India) sitting in Seattle offices. But those engineers are not the ones making $9/hr. They are the US engineers who work as liaisons to the engineering campus back in India.


The biggest communication problem they were having was not English, but in engineering because these engineers lacked a deep understanding in Aerospace engineering.

Boeing’s cut of their highly skilled senior engineers to reduce cost is the problem. Boeing isn’t the only company to do it and have major problems…

Also in that article it pointed out a major problem with outsourcing technical jobs.

“Boeing was doing all kinds of things, everything you can imagine, to reduce cost, including moving work from Puget Sound, because we’d become very expensive here,” said Rick Ludtke, a former Boeing flight controls engineer laid off in 2017. “All that’s very understandable if you think of it from a business perspective. Slowly over time it appears that’s eroded the ability for Puget Sound designers to design.”

That was my only point from the article I saw. The whiz kids continue to make decisions to save nickels and put the very survival of the corporation at risk. Planes, air bags, ketchup, small engines, pick a product.

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