Save Our Teen Drivers

Advocating for driver's education changes. Educating the public on the problem. Finding a solution that saves lives.

Posts Tagged ‘toyota’

The driver’s error factor to Toyota’s acceleration problem

Posted by lapearce on March 9, 2010

This Prius driver called 911 when his car accelerated up to 90mph, a police officer yelled at him to hit the brakes before stopping the car with his bumper

No one wants to be behind the wheel of a runaway car that accelerates on its own. Toyota’s brand is going to be damaged for years to come by this problem and their response to it. But there is an even bigger problem here than sticky accelerators: the drivers who lack the common sense to stop the cars themselves.

To clear the air on the point I’m trying to make: cars shouldn’t accelerate on their own. This problem shouldn’t exist in the first place and it is inexcusable that Toyota allowed so many cars to be made with this problem. But that doesn’t excuse the absolutely clueless drivers who can’t figure out how to put a car in neutral or slam on the brakes. The problem isn’t just with a worn pedal or a misplaced floor mats, it’s with how we are training our drivers and the amount of skills the average driver possesses.

As drivers we are becoming increasingly dependent on our cars to do things for us. We have anti-lock brakes to keep our brakes from locking up. Traction control to keep us from spinning out. Lane departure warnings to tell us when we are leaving our lane. Blind spot indicators to tell us when a car is next to us. Tire pressure monitors that tell us when our tires need air. Automatic transmissions that shift themselves and cruise control that lets the engine accelerate on its own. Plus hundreds of other little computers doing tasks that humans used to do. Not all technology is bad, ABS for example is great, but many of these features are dumbing down the driving population and leading to a generation of drivers who can’t even find neutral on a gear selector.

Now the National Highway Traffic Safety Institution is thinking about solving the problem by adding in yet another computer to do the job for us. The agency is considering mandating that all new cars have an override system where when you hit the brakes it overrides the gas. This technology will be the fatal shot to the already dying manual transmission. Goodbye downshifting, good bye fun, goodbye the last standout of drivers’ input in a world of cars that do everything for you. It is ridiculous and unnecessary too because hitting the brakes in a runaway Toyota will already stop the car.

We need to step up as a society and not just demand Toyota make safer cars, but demand that drivers be given the education they need to solve these problems without the addition of new nanny systems and government oversight. We need to raise voices in concern about all of the electronics that are in control of cars today and ask how necessary they are. Do they really help or are they hurting us by giving us an illusion of safety and reducing our skills to take control when the systems give it up?

No one should have died because of Toyota’s unintended acceleration problem. Everyone should have been able to put the car into neutral and hit the brakes. And if Toyota has some computer that doesn’t allow the driver of the car to do that—then that’s another problem all together.


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Bridgestone and Toyota both announce teen driving programs

Posted by lapearce on June 3, 2009

From Nina Russian at Carspondent:

Bridgestone and Toyota Support Teen Safety

In honor of National Safety Month, Bridgestone and Toyota have announced programs targeted towards teen drivers. Teenage drivers are involved in fatal traffic accidents at over twice the rate of the general population. Traffic accidents are the number one cause of death among teens age 16 to 20.

Bridgestone is currently accepting entries for the third annual Safety Scholars video contest. Students create short videos about automotive safety or environmentalism. Three winners receive a $5000 college scholarship, and will have their videos aired as public service announcements on television stations nationwide.

Videos must be 25 or 55 seconds in length. Bridgestone is accepting the first 300 entries by June 17 at A panel of judges will evaluate entries by how well they compel viewers to be more safety or eco-conscious when using their videos. The ten finalists will be posted on, YouTube, MySpace and Facebook on June 25. Bridgestone will announce the grand prize winners on July 23.

Toyota driving skills program helps teens in California learn about accident avoidance

Toyota’s Driving Expectations program consists of interactive and hands-on instruction, to help teens become safer drivers. The program is free to Los Angeles area residents. Toyota has partnered with the National Safety Council since the program’s debut in 2004. Since then, over 12,000 teens in 18 cities have benefited from the program.

Four-hour programs will be held over two weekends: July 11-12, and August 8-9. To learn more about the program and register, visit the Toyota Driving Expectations web site.

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