Sticky Throttles Everywhere!

Too bad Martin Truex Jr.’s Toyota NASCAR wasn’t equipped with an electronic throttle. ‘Cause if it did, no way would he have taken that hard hit in the turn at the Martinsville Speedway yesterday.

The veteran NASCAR driver emerged from his flaming Toyota unscathed – and puzzled.

“We had a throttle stuck wide open – not sure why,” Truex said to The News Virginian.  “There’s a lot of big chunks of rubber flying around out there. I don’t know if one of those got up in the carburetor linkage or what, but just never had any warning. Went to let off to go into three and it was stuck to the floor. Not much you can do at that point here.”

We’re not sure all the theories have been explored. Did he check his floor mat? Was NASA consulted?

The commentators noted that Truex appeared as though he couldn’t slow his vehicle down – and maybe lost his brakes. Those guys apparently hadn’t got the memo that the brakes on a Toyota always overcome the throttle. They are two separate systems, and a stuck throttle and simultaneous brake failure isn’t possible. We’re serious. Toyota’s told that one to a lot of customers who complained that they crashed because their Toyota or Lexus took off on them and braking didn’t help.

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Now we know that a race track is not I-95, that a NASCAR professional is no muddled blue-hair, and that the vehicle in question had a mechanical throttle instead of the vaunted, never-to-be defeated ETCS-i.

And yet. And yet, Truex’s observations – no warning, happened too fast to avoid a crash – ring more bells than a Jehovah’s witness.

Sudden Unintended Acceleration

Sudden Unintended Acceleration can be rooted in a variety of vehicle defects including ergonomic design flaws, mechanical or electro-mechanical failures, or electronic failures.  The article below, republished from Safety Research & Strategies bi-monthly publication, The Safety Record, is an overview of SUA. Continue reading