Toyota’s unintended acceleration issue may be real, or it may be a combination of factors which probably include opportunism, a litigious society, and the fact that some people have big feet.
Who knows – it’s probably all of the above. One thing I do know is that if I were behind the wheel of a Toyota Prius (I know, I know, just try to imagine it if you can) and the accelerator seemed to be stuck, the first thing I would do is…
“I pushed the gas pedal to pass a car, and it just did something kind of funny … and it just stuck there,” he said at a news conference outside a Highway Patrol office. “As I was going, I was trying the brakes … and it just kept speeding up.”
[Jim] Sikes said he called 911 for help, and dispatchers talked him through instructions on how he might be able to stop the car. But nothing worked.
…or so he says.
Mr. Sikes, with all due respect, are you trying to tell us that you couldn’t put the car in Neutral, or Park, or turn off the ignition? …but you could pick up your phone and dial 911?
Calling 911 in this situation affords the citizen a calm, cool professional, at the ready to tell you what you already should know, but it also affords said citizen the opportunity to convert what should have been a thirty-second emergency (assuming it was real) into a matter of public record and with a little added drama, a spectacle. On a slow news day, you might find video of your melodrama on every channel and across the interweb.
Alerted by emergency dispatchers, a California Highway Patrol officer was able to catch up to Sikes’ Prius and used the patrol car’s public address system to instruct Sikes to apply the brakes and the emergency brake at the same time.
The trooper said after the incident that he could smell the Prius’s brakes burning, even at that high speed.
I smell something too, but it’s not burning brakes.