Shift to neutral, maybe not

Just because she states that she was unable to shift to neutral does not necessarily mean that this was actually the case.

She also apparently expected the e-brake to stop the car when the service brake was unable to do so.
Yeah, that makes sense–stop the car with half of the braking system (and the weak half at that) when the full braking system allegedly does not work.

The problem is anyone who had any kind of problem that even looks related is going to think it is the same and is going to be coming out to tell their story now. It will look like confirmation, and you’ll apply the specifics of their case to the others that have been confirmed, whether it applies or not. Right now you have a suspicion, but you (and more importantly legislators and jurors) should withhold judgement until things are proven one way or another.

Yes, I read the article. The difference between you and me is that I take her testimony as one side of the story, and you seem to be taking her testimony as the gospel. I yearn to hear all sides of the story, especially from impartial witnesses, and I am reserving judgment until I do.

You don’t happen to be related to this woman, or have some kind of personal relationship with her family, do you?

How does someone who is experiencing unintended acceleration have the inclination or time to make a cell phone call?

Where in this world can you go 100 mph for 6 miles while talking on a phone>>

In many modern cars I believe the shifter in the automatic transmission cars is nothing more than an electrical switch. The shifter switch is wired into the car’s computer and eventually the transmission. Therefore, perhaps in a car moving forward you can move the selector and the computer doesn’t send the signal to shift to the transmission.

My T’bird has a D4 and D5 position on the shifter. At the moment if I put it in D4 sometimes it goes to 4th gear and sometimes is doesn’t. The dash indicator shows D5 as I motor along with the selector in D4. There is stuff going on here, there is not the direct mechanical linkages to the auto transmissions anymore.

I can see how the woman’s car won’t shift out of drive no matter where she put the shift selector. The fail safe devices and software controling the computers in our modern cars are not working, and in some cases with dramatic unfortunate results.

The real problem here is that human beings will panic in emergency situations. Panic will cause you to actually step down harder on the accelerator instead of the brake pedal. You can shift to neutral in “any” vehicle and turn off the key switch. The brakes, even power brakes, will stop the vehicle eventually. Panic is the real problem. Electronic devices that fail will always be with us. Be prepared.

Whitey, it seems like part of what you enjoy about this site is coming to argue with people. LOL. I seriously mean no offense by that (but argue with it if you will :wink: - just making an observation.

Discussions and arguments are good. Keep it up Whitey and you too Don.

Not to argue, but you are starting with the assumption that it is operator error unless proven otherwise. Let’s just turn it around and what IF, the circumstances happened exactly as she described? What IF this is exactly what happened to the California Highway Patrolman? Then what? It would mean that they have a serious problem that they have not determined the cause of and that they cannot yet explain. Just because they can’t explain it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. She had her wits about her enough to try everything she could think of including shifting to all gears, shutting it off, both feet on the brake and the emergency brake. Even trying to shut the cruise off. It went into passing gear without her foot on the pedal. She even had her wits about her enough to call her husband for one last time-sounds more like the flight into the Pentagon than a hysterical person not knowing what pedal she’s pushing. When the husband put it into neutral to tow it, it tryed to start by itself. I also find it hard to believe that the CHP would not have known enough to try to put it into neutral, duh. That’s the point, they couldn’t or it didn’t respond. That’s not a floor mat issue or a bad accelerator. It is something quite different and more serious and they just aren’t looking.

Haven’t a lot of us had a situation where when we explain it to a technician they say it can’t happen, but you know full well it did happen? I’ve even done the same thing when the wife explained a strange symptom. Maybe it took a while, but it did happen and finally found the problem. Just assumming that unless there are pictures or witnesses, or other hard evidence, it didn’t happen, is sticking your head in the sand. Let’s assume it did happen and find the problem like the Illinois Professor did.

Put a fuel pump kill switch in if nothing else but this is just the tip of the iceberg with some type of electronic failure. Maybe only 1% or less, but if you were the one driving the thing hitting passing gear with no foot on the pedal and unable to take it out of gear, you’d want someone to take you seriously.

“Where in this world can you go 100 mph for 6 miles while talking on a phone>>”

I-10, and several other interstates and roads.

"My T’bird has a D4 and D5 position on the shifter. At the moment if I put it in D4 sometimes it goes to 4th gear and sometimes is doesn’t. The dash indicator shows D5 as I motor along with the selector in D4. There is stuff going on here, there is not the direct mechanical linkages to the auto transmissions anymore. "

You car has the 5R55S transmission. The forward gears are all under electronic control. However, there is still a mechanical cable connection between the shifter and the transmission that controls the selection of park, neutral, and reverse gearing (The electronics can prevent reverse engagement). Selection of neutral or park is mechanical and the electronics can’t override that. Selection of D5 or D4 is completely electronic.

cigroller, you are probably right, but I prefer “debate” rather than “argue.” It sounds more civil. I frequently have similar spirited discussions with my closest friends.

I don’t know what it is like these days, but ten years ago, if you drove on I95 in Miami going 100 MPH while talking on the phone, few would have noticed.

I’m more fond of “spirited discussion” now that you mention it. Sometimes I have those too (as you know) - but I think its mostly just b/c I happen to be ornery.

I’m not sure how reliable Rhonda Smith’s account of what happened really is. As others have mentioned, there’s no telling what someone really did or did not do when that person is in a panic state. Further clouding things is the fact that this car was ultimately sold by the Smiths to someone else, and the new owner was tracked down and stated that the car has been trouble-free for 27,000 miles.

Something else that doesn’t make sense about Mrs. Smith’s testimony is this: She says, “After 6 miles God intervened as the car came very slowly to a stop. I pulled it to the left median. With the car stopped and both feet still on the brake, the motor still revved up and down. At 35 mph it would not shut off. Finally, at 33 mph, I was able to turn the engine off.” If she was able to turn the engine off at 33 mph, then the engine wouldn’t be running/revving as she sat “stopped and both feet still on the brake.”

Nothing was done to the car. The new owner has driven it for 27000 miles without any similar problem.
(Sorry, didn’t see the post above.)


she may be saying she shifted “into all available gears” because she doesnt want to look like an idiot in front of the whole world.

this may be mean, but does she get anything (money, lots of it)out of toyota if she helps brings them down?

I still say that you can shift to neutral in any vehicle. People in “panic mode” don’t really know what they are doing. The story is bogus as far as I’m concerned. She does not need people to enable her any further.