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Does your accelerator stick?

Toyota discovered that some of the accelerator mechanisms in their cars and trucks might stick, too. This is in addition to the floor mat issue, and some vehicles may need both evaluated. This time it’s only 2.3 million cars and trucks (6.3 million total):

* 2009-2010 RAV4,

* 2009-2010 Corolla,

* 2009-2010 Matrix,

* 2005-2010 Avalon,

* 2007-2010 Camry,

* 2010 Highlander,

* 2007-2010 Tundra,

* 2008-2010 Sequoia

I hope your Toyota is not on either list. But if it is, get it checked ASAP. Odds are you won’t have a problem, but that’s not much consolation if it happens to you or a loved one.

I’m not saying this isn’t an important safety issue, but the more important safety issue is that we give driver’s licenses to people who are not skilled enough to instantly recognize this mechanical problem and put the car in neutral if this ever happens.

We should train our drivers like we train our pilots. What if we handed out pilot’s licenses without training them to react to engine failure? I guess 40,000+ Americans per year would die in airplane crashes.

My mother’s Sienna isn’t on the list, but I noticed the throttle was sticking (closed, not open) and had the throttle cleaned professionally.

Even if people aren’t smart enough to recognize a sticking throttle, they should have to take a driver’s education class to get a license, and they should have to practice shifting to neutral and safely coming to a stop, like they should if they ever have a throttle stuck in the open position. It’s kind of like using the engine cut-off switch on a motorcycle. You need to practice so that if something happens, the driver can do what needs to be done without thinking about it.

One of the main reasons I posted the message was to alert Toyota owners so that they could think about how they would respond if unintended acceleration happened to them. We’re only people and subject to panic when something unusual occurs, especially at 60 MPH.

I used to strap panickers to a backboard and drive them to the hospital.

Panic is the reaction a person has to an emergency when they are untrained, unexperienced, and unprepared to take immediate action to gain control of the situation.

I am just pointing out that we hand out driver’s licenses to people who can correctly answer 19 of 25 multiple choice questions and parallel park a car between two barrels. As a former EMT, I have seen the result firsthand.

There really should be a discussion in this country about initial and continuing driver’s education, annual or biennial driving reviews, and a focus on maintaining emergency skills. This thread just highlights the lack of this. A stuck accelerator in not an emergency. It’s a minor inconvenience until an untrained driver allows the situation to spiral out of control through lack of quick, decisive action.

A stuck button on the radio is also not an emergency until an untrained driver starts fiddling with it and ends up upside down in the median!