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What Causes Runaway Vehicles?

May 24, 2012
Colson Hicks Eidson

Last year, television news networks broadcast frightening 911 audio of a family in the moments before a fatal car crash. Their car experienced sudden acceleration, and there was nothing the driver could do to slow down the runaway vehicle. The family died moments later when the car crashed. An investigation revealed that a vehicle defect caused the sudden acceleration.

Rapid or sudden acceleration in cars and pickup trucks becomes apparent when the vehicle’s electronic system causes the throttle to open wide – the driver cannot return the car to idle and cannot effectively use the brakes to control the defective vehicle. In addition to the driver and passenger, sudden acceleration places pedestrians and other drivers in peril as the vehicle essentially becomes a runaway hazard crashing into everything in its path.

Investigators and service departments often blame the driver in such accidents. A driver in Minnesota spent years in prison for vehicular manslaughter before an investigation revealed sudden acceleration caused the fatal accident for which a jury found him liable years earlier.

Certain models manufactured by Toyota experienced rapid acceleration. Toyota initially blamed the problem on sticky floor mats but eventually blamed the defect on sticky accelerator pedals.

Have you suffered injuries from a defective vehicle?