Imagine if you will, a bunch of people claiming to have a car that has a problem. For the sake of argument we will call this problem “unintended acceleration” where the car takes off like a bat out of Hades for no conceivable reason. And imagine if you will that the company who makes these cars is in direct competition with car manufacturers partially owned and invested in by the federal government. For the sake of argument we will call these companies owned by the government GM and Chrysler and the company having this “problem” Toyota. Further imagine that the people having these episodes of “unintended acceleration” swear up and down that this was caused by no fault of their own and that the car they were driving simply sped up by its own demonic will.
Now, imagine if you will that Toyota has investigated these problems and has been unable to duplicate them in testing and has repeatedly said that that they think the problem is somewhere other than the mechanical and electrical components of the car. But then the media gets involved and starts printing sensational stories about how Toyota’s cars were out of control death machines. Day after day they run headlines quoting people who, cross their heart and hope to die, were victims of these horrific incidents. Further imagine that dozens of so-called "experts" come out of the woodwork to back up these sensational claims and make even more claims as to how these problems were well known to the automaker and how they are simply dumbfounded as to why the problem has not been fixed.
But our story does not end here. Next the government hauls Toyota executives up in front of Congress for hearings about why they are ignoring complaints and putting good, hard working citizens like John Q. Public in danger by not addressing the problem so many are reporting and that must obviously be real. With a public relations disaster on their hands the heads of Toyota fall on their swords and beg forgiveness. They recall millions of their vehicles at great expense to their company and shareholders. Then they set to work to fix a problem that they have been unable to duplicate and thus have no real idea what it is being caused by or how to fix.
Fade to black ...
Now imagine that months later that the facts show a much different story. After an investigation by the Department of Transportation using the data from black boxes inside the very cars which drivers claimed just magically accelerated by themselves, and which most drivers making these claims are blissfully unaware of, the results are in and they are not good for those that tried to induce a panic over Toyota brand cars.
Sound like a bad conspiracy theory movie? It should not. This is real life.
Yes, our federal government has found that out of 3,000 complaints filed by drivers about some mysterious acceleration by Toyota’s vehicles that just one was related to the vehicle itself. And that case was not a case of the car mysteriously just accelerating either. In that case the gas pedal got caught in the floor mat. That means that out of the 74 fatal crashes in more than a decade which were investigated 73 have had nothing to do with the vehicle, according to the government’s own report.
That means one accident caused this whole problem for Toyota. That, my friends is a statistical anomaly not worthy of the hysteria that once gripped this country as people feared whether or not their car would plow into a wall because of some sort of voodoo or demonic possession. Now before I get the outraged emails about how one fatal crash is too many, that even one death is too high and that this justifies the whole lie that set everything in motion, I beg you to think about it before hitting send. It would be like forcing all swimming pools in the United States to close and be retrofitted because one person drowned. Obviously we do not do that.
Yes, despite claims by drivers that they were stepping on the brake when the acceleration began the data supports a completely different conclusion. That conclusion? Apparently there is an outbreak of ID-10T and PEBKAC errors out there.
Now, in case you are unfamiliar with what these terms mean, they are terms we use to denote the trouble as user error. To understand ID-10T, remove the hyphen and read the number 10 as though it were an I and a O to reveal the word, “IDIOT.” PEBKAC refers to the phrase, “Problem Exists Between Keyboard and Chair.”
The mystery of the unintended acceleration of Toyota's vehicles is simply people who panic and hit the wrong pedal or who do not know that the long skinny pedal on the right is the accelerator and the short fat one on the left is the brake! Thank God for the little black boxes in these cars. They have helped to put to bed a lie and end what has been a terribly sordid affair.
But the damage is done. Toyota spent a boat load of money to make their cars even more idiot proof than they already were. As the old saying goes however, better idiots are already being built to overcome these improvements.
Yes, the mystery has been solved and those looking to use Toyota as a whipping boy are upset. They are upset because they would have gotten away with it had it not been for those meddling facts.
Copyright ©2010 J.J. Jackson