Jammed throttle on Toyota Blamed for Car Becoming Airborne in Grayson

The throttle in a 2010 Toyota Corolla allegedly jammed while a Loganville man was entering the Kroger gas station Saturday night, launching the car into the air and onto another vehicle.

A jammed throttle on a 2010 Toyota Corolla is blamed for a vehicle becoming airborne in the Grayson Kroger parking lot Saturday night resulting in two cars having to be towed from the scene.

According to the police report from Gwinnett County Police, Neville Tate, of Loganville, backed his Toyota out of a parking space at Kroger and headed to the gas station to fill up. That was when the throttle stuck, causing the vehicle to accelerate out of his control. He attempted to steer the car away from a car already parked at the pump, jumping the curb in the process and launching the car into the air. It landed on top of the driver's side of an Oldsmobile parked in the Kroger parking lot. That vehicle was not occupied as the driver was working inside the store at the time.

Both vehicles had to be towed from the scene, but nobody was seriously injured. The driver of the vehicle that became airborne reportedly complained of pain to his hand, but refused treatment. Although he was determined to be the at fault driver, nobody was cited due to the fact that the accident took place on private property.

The 2010 Toyota Corollas were included in the 2.3 million vehicles recalled by Toyota in January 2010 because of reports of accelerators sticking. According to Autoblog, a class action lawsuit was filed against the company in 2009 following more than 2,000 complaints. Jammed accelerator pedals were blamed for accidents that resulted in 16 deaths and 243 injuries at that time.

Megan Zots March 20, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Grant, you may think it cool to blame the driver, and yes, there are such incidents but few. I know and it is indisputable that many hundreds of drivers in Japan have experienced runaway Toyotas starting from low speed. Moreover, drivers in dozens of countries around the world have complained of hundreds or thousands of these incidents of Toyota vehicles lurching and hitting walls etc. in parking lots. In fact, one flew off a parking garage deck and one flew off of a clifftop parking lot and landed in the ocean. Now today we hear of another airborne Toyota. The vast majority of these events are in automatic transmission vehicles. There is some concern about the torque converter x software. I am not an engineer but I know that there must be some truth to so many similar incidents around the world with almost identical driver descriptions of the phenomena. All these people cannot be lying. I AM REALLY POSITIVE Toyota is lying about its vehicle electronics defects. I think the world will learn the truth during the upcoming products liability trials in a federal court in California, where attorneys for people who have been injured or killed by these cars will have a chance to present all the evidence of Toyota shoddy engineering that it concealed from the public, from regulators, and from Congress.
Grant March 20, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Electronic glitches? HORSE HOCKEY! Apparently you dont understand how automobiles work . Here's a test procedure you can try at home ! Go outside and start your car. Doesnt matter if it's a 60 horsepower econobox or a 600 horsepower Corvette. Put your left foot on the brake firmly , put the car in gear and FLOOR the gas pedal.. Didnt move an inch did it? While there may well be electronic glitches that cause the throttle to stick open or even open on it's own the BRAKES STILL WORK..
Megan Zots March 20, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Grant, the test you propose is irrelevant to this accident and also cannot really prove the brakes always overcome the engine power. First, if the car is not moving, the brakes do not need to overcome the vehicle momentum. Second, the brakes fade when braking against WOT at high speed. Third, you have not addressed my points that the braking power is irrelevant in a situation where the driver has no time to brake before hitting a wall or is thrown back and jostled so cannot reach the brake. Fourth, if a car takes off on its own, many good drivers will not react immediately due to panic, further reducing the chance of successful braking.In August 2009 the Saylor family perished when the ES350's brakes did not overcome its engine power. The driver Mark Saylor was a California Highway Patrol officer, who certainly knew how to stop a car in an emergency and would not have been subject to the panic of an ordinary driver. Are you claiming that Mark Saylor did not step on the brakes? Finally, how do brakes work when the car is in the air? Please answer politely. Thank you. Megan
Grant March 20, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Megan ... I'll assume you actually READ the article? This accident happened in a PARKING LOT. So your "brake fade at high speed" issue doesnt exist in this particular incident. Even if our boy's 130HP Toyota Corolla somehow went to WOT at parking lot speed there is no reason that a competent driver could not have managed to control the vehicle by using the BRAKE pedal. Thrown back so he cant reach the brake? In a 4 cylinder COROLLA? Yeah right ,unless he was attempting to drive the vehicle from the back seat that just didnt happen . Cant say I know anything about Saylor's incident but unless it occurred in a parking lot it isnt relevant to this incident. Driver error probably due to a cell phone or other distraction . Valiant effort though to lay blame elsewhere..
Christina V. March 20, 2012 at 02:36 PM
The vehicle was included in Toyota's recall. I'm curious if the owner(s) had the recall addressed?
Megan Zots March 20, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Dear Grant, I happen to know a very lot about this kind of accident. I am writing comments in order to share this knowledge with the general public in order to raise awareness and try to help protect public safety. I am not interested in arguing with you. So if you would not mind, please stop trying to turn this conversation into a shouting match. Instead, have you done tests of vehicles with sudden WOT conditions in that occur from low speed in parking lots to prove that the brakes always overcome the engine power? Or can you cite any research studies that prove this? I'm very interested in learning any facts you may have at hand about this.
Sharon Swanepoel March 20, 2012 at 03:04 PM
I have spoken to the driver and will be doing a follow-up with comments by him, as well as statements by witnesses to the accident. We appreciate any contributions to this topic, especially if it is beneficial in saving future lives. Please do keep the conversation civil as it is an important issue, from both sides of the argument.
Grant March 20, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Megan.. By all means do your research yourself. I'll assume you own a car or can borrow one from a friend? Take that big scary car thing out to an abandoned parking lot. You might wanna wear a football helmet in case that big scary 4 cylinder Toyota is too much for you to handle. Accelerate to "parking lot speed" (call it 10mph ) Then FLOOR the gas and count 1 (reasonable time for a competent driver to react) then brake hard... You stopped didnt you? Quickly too huh? Physics is awesome !! If the thought of actually testing this bit of well known automotive physics is out of your league dont fret . The folks at Car and Driver have done the research for you . http://www.caranddriver.com/features/how-to-deal-with-unintended-acceleration Thanks and have a splendid day :)
Christina V. March 20, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Sharon, please be sure to ask whether or not the owner(s) of the vehicle addressed the recall. It's crucial information. If the recall has been addressed, this incident needs to be reported to NHTSA promptly. http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/problems/
Sharon Swanepoel March 20, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Christina I will definitely check that with him. Do you know if there is a way to check it if he was not the original owner of the car and recently purchased it. I'm not sure if that is the case, but would think that might be a way that someone is not sure whether a recall issue has been handled or not.
Grant March 20, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Recall notices tend to follow the car by VIN as opposed to following the owner. One would have to be pretty clueless to be unaware that Toyota issued recall notices for this car, it was in all the papers. I'm certain Toyota has a database that would show a dealer which cars were serviced for the recall issue and which werent.
Christina V. March 20, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Yes, recalls are connected to VINs. The vehicle in reference is a MY 2010. Perhaps I shouldn't, but I am assuming, given the newer MY, the driver is the original/first owner. If that's the case, the driver/owner should have knowledge as to whether or not the recall was addressed. If that's not the case, any Toyota dealership will have record, if given the VIN to run through their system. If there's no record, the recall was not addressed.
Grant March 20, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Some more interesting information http://www.caranddriver.com/features/its-all-your-fault-dot-renders-verdict-on-toyotas-unintended-acceleration-scare-feature Some interesting quotes for those that wont follow the link "Earlier this year, the Department of  Transportation re­leased the results of its study into the blizzard of reports that various Toyota and Lexus models were accelerating out of control. The DOT concluded that, other than a number of incidents caused by accelerators hanging up on incorrectly fitted floor mats, the accidents were caused by drivers depressing their accelerators when they intended to apply their brakes. “Pedal misapplication” was the DOT’s delicate terminology  for this phenomenon. " The facts on the Saylor incident referenced by Megan " A veteran California Highway Patrol officer was driving three family members in a Lexus ES350. At some point, the throttle of the car stuck open, the driver lost control, and the car accelerated to high speed before hitting another vehicle, rolling over several times, and bursting into flames. All four occupants died. A subsequent investigation discovered that the car had been fitted with all-weather floor mats designed for a Lexus RX, which were too long for the ES350, thus trapping the accelerator pedal after a full-throttle application and causing the crash. " So... I remain steadfast in my belief that the "unintended acceleration" excuse is Horse Hockey
Christina V. March 20, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Here's the link to the NHTSA/NASA Study: http://www.nhtsa.gov/UA .
Don Gibor March 20, 2012 at 07:46 PM
The DOT is covering for itself and Toyota. Toyota's own engineers have admitted, in complete agreement with functional safety testing standards bodies, that their software is impossible to test due to the massive number of possible failure modes. One car has more lines of code than a jet fighter airplane. No one can find all the bugs. That's why my friends in the functional safety testing field all say that the only solution to this problem is complete systems redundancy, which is known to have been lacking in Toyota vehicles relative to other makes. For example, the gas pedal has two accelerator pedal position sensors. The two sensors are supposed to be redundant, but they are both on a single microchip. If that chip goes haywire, both will fail. There are numerous incidents where Toyota technicians and engineers have not found diagnostic codes set when these fail, and the fail-safe system--that is supposed to put a car into limp-home mode-- does not work. top Toyota electronics engineer Mr. Miyazaki was called into NHTSA to explain the systems during the mat-pedal recall crisis, and he himself was shocked when he heard about the two sensors being on one chip, which he had not known about before. So--Auto electronics are ever more complicated and impossible to thoroughly test. But automakers spend money on lobbyists and lawyes, and therefore are under-regulated. So drivers beware. If this ever happens to you, shift to neutral and then brake hard.
Grant March 20, 2012 at 08:10 PM
So it's a conspiracy? RIGHT, that makes lots of sense The fact remains that the brakes will stop a car from speed with only a nominal increase in braking distance. Motor Trend & Car and Driver tested this on many vehicles for those of you too ignorant of physics to understand the basic premises of automobile function . While pulling the car out of gear on the extremely remote chance that a throttle sticks is certainly not a bad idea you CAN indeed stop your car by a simple application of the brakes.
Megan Zots March 21, 2012 at 04:33 AM
Christina, Worldwide, there are hundreds of documented incidents of unintended acceleration in vehicles that already received recall repairs. Toyota knows. So it would have been good to do the repair but it does not necessarily fix the problem. In Congressional testimony before the Oversight Subcommittee of the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, James Lentz, Toyota's US COO, admitted under oath that as documented in NHTSA data, most unintended acceleration incidents are "cause unknown" and that the recall fixes would "not necessarily" fix all the problems. In fact, Toyota's own statistics at the time of the recalls show that 70% of UA incidents were not understood. So it has been easy and cheap to blame the driver and they continue to do so. And as for the NASA-DOT study that allegedly concluded Toyota's electronics are without fault, the research was organized under heavy influence by Toyota itself, and the study is widely regarded within the technical community as being far too narrow. Further, despite the loud headlines declaring the study's conclusions that everything is all right, if you actually read the report you will find that the researchers were concerned about tin whiskers and other undocumented electronic causes of unintended acceleration, and since then other scientists have backed up this position with actual research. Consumer pressure on NHTSA and Congress is needed to force the government to recognize the problem.
Megan Zots March 21, 2012 at 05:28 AM
Grant, it's not a conspiracy, it's only people who need to make a living. Sometimes they help each other. Sometimes they cut corners. That's all. Your claim that the brakes always overcome full engine power is not supported by the evidence out there. Sometimes it is true and sometimes it is not. Go to YouTube and listen to the 911 call from Saylor's car "there's no brakes!"
Grant March 21, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Megan...You Tube? Really? I guess you cant even be bothered to test this yourself and prefer to argue ? I know physics is difficult for you to understand ,but there is indeed REAL evidence that indeed a car will stop , from speed with the throttle wide open . In fact stopping distance is only increased by a few feet in most cases. Some more links that you wont read submitted as proof http://www.caranddriver.com/features/how-to-deal-with-unintended-acceleration http://www.edmunds.com/car-safety/could-you-please-stop.html http://blogs.motortrend.com/wild-out-of-control-toyotas-baloney-2557.html http://www.motortrend.com/features/consumer/112_1003_unintended_acceleration_test/viewall.html Plenty more real facts and evidence if you are interested in that sort of thing.Or you can pull that tinfoil hat further in front of your eyes and ears in favor of unfounded conspiracy theories and blatant ignorance of the evidence.
Christina V. March 21, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Megan is getting all of her information from a slant-ily written 88-page document which was produced to support claims, which is likely why she hasn't provided any sources of her own.
Christina V. March 21, 2012 at 01:03 PM
I love this, "if you actually read the report". Thanks for that. I love that you assume I haven't read it because I'm not being herded with the conspiracy flock. You're not the only one with applicable knowledge/experience and/or education in the matter(s) of discussion. Though now I'm really starting to doubt yours.
Chris March 22, 2012 at 01:54 AM
There are many of us out here that will side with who they do just for the mere fact that it is what they believe even though there is no real facts. People will try to jump on the bandwagon to profit from this because it is dealing with a huge corporation, hence the califonia man that tried sue Toyota for his Prius accelerating out of control and it turned out it just a Hoax because the man was almost bankrupt. Well now he is bankrupt and in jail. Back to my point that people believe what they want: NASA, NHTSA and whatever other engineers NHTSA hired could not find any evidence of electronic throttle malfunction and when that was released people said the engineers did not know what they are looking for. May I also point out that all of this happend while the government was trying to get the Detroit 3 back on track. Did any of you hear about the Chevy cobalt having the same unintended acceleration issues.. I think not.
Megan Zots March 22, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Chris, for most, it comes down to a matter of believing what drivers say versus what a wealthy corporation and the government say. I agree with you totally that one's view of the truth depends on prior inclination. The causes of SUA are many and they are very hard to prove after the fact because they often arise from intermittent electronic faults that do not leave traces behind. So we end up in a game of "he said, she said" and people believe what they want. I recognize that a few drivers may create hoaxes, but there is one kind of proof that I would like you to consider: there are thousands and thousands of drivers who have reported UA around the world. Could they all be lying? Do people really lie like that while also endangering themselves? I don't think it is human nature. Outside the US, there is no financial incentive for anyone to make such a hoax. In Japan, in particular, drivers would never want to pull anything off like that against the country's flagship company, yet hundreds have reported incidents just like the one in the Kroger parking lot, although they usually hit walls and do not go airborne. Japanese are not known as cowboy drivers. As to the NASA study, the scientists certainly knew what to look for, but the sample sizes were too small and the lines of code too few for such rare failures. As for the Govt Motors issues, senators pointed out in the hearings that the UA problems predated govt bailouts of US automakers by at least 5 years.
Megan Zots March 22, 2012 at 04:21 AM
Hi Christina, I do not consider most media as reliable information sources about Toyota UA for many reasons, mainly because auto reporters like to help sell cars. They have powerful financial incentives to say nice things about all automakers. That is why I am not giving you any media sources as proof of my views. I suggest instead the scientists who have studied UA causes, and the C-SPAN videos of Congressional hearings on Toyota, particularly the Senate Science Committee and to some extent the House Commerce Committee. In these hearings it is plainly obvious that congresspeople possess a lot of documentary evidence against Toyota as well as many pleas from constituents to find the causes of fatal accidents, and they are not getting good answers from Toyota's witnesses even in sworn testimony. In the hearings, Toyota makes promises instead of answering the questions. And some of the key promises have not been fulfilled.
Megan Zots March 22, 2012 at 05:03 AM
Christina V, Please forgive me for writing something that you considered an insult. That was not my intention. I'm only here to share information with the public, not to argue. I bid you all farewell, I said enough. To the driver, God bless.
Bellechatte March 24, 2012 at 12:46 PM
“Christine,” my husband’s Toyota Avalon doesn’t care much for me and the sentiment is returned. I borrowed “Christine” one day, clueless of her disdain. Thank heavens, I was driving on a long stretch of road in the (sort of) country when there was not much traffic. As I headed out the driveway, I noticed the car was accelerating without any help from me. Thinking that some strange glitch happened, I applied the brake and found it would slightly slow the car but it continued to accelerate quickly. As I headed toward an intersection, I was negotiating steering the car to a ditch to avoid hitting a truck. Truck moved and I turned right still zooming. I tried to move the gear to neutral, gear would not budge; Finally, I zoomed into a farm road until the car seized; and stopped. Whew. Christine nearly had me! All happened in about three or four minutes. We had gotten an email from Toyota a couple of years before the car went all “Christine.” It told us to remove the mats from the driver side; as that was the problem with the Toyota acceleration issue. Well, it was not. When my husband got “Christine” to the Toyota hospital; they repaired her and Toyota paid for the repair. He was told vehicles with this problem can randomly accelerate. “Christine” is all better now, but I still do not trust her.
Linda Gifford May 10, 2012 at 10:26 PM
People like Grant who are diehard Toyota lovers will argue until they're blue that Toyota can never be at fault. They're afraid that if their import is found faulty that they will look like dumbasses for their continued loyalty. I have neighbors whose Toyota was in the shop more than on the road and they still sent in the survey to consumer reports saying it was the best car ever.
Linda Gifford May 10, 2012 at 10:32 PM
Am I the only one who thinks it's weird that so many Toyota drivers can't remember which is the gas and which is the brake? I don't think the positioning of the two has changed over the last 5 decades or so. And I do realize that on rare occasions a person not paying attention might hit the gas instead. But why so many Toyota drivers? Sorry Grant. Not buying it.
Linda Gifford May 10, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Oh, right, so you're one of the "big 3 govt. conspiracy" nuts. The Chevy Cobalt did not have the problem you are attributing to it. Show me the links and the recalls. They had a minor steering issue which they issued a recall for. What you and some others fail to acknowledge is that Toyota execs admitted to paying people off to keep their problem quiet for years. There is nothing wrong with recall, every auto company has them. The point is, make the call, don't hide the defect from the public, pay off the ones you can, and simply hope nobody dies. Toyota lost on that one
Grant May 11, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Linda writes "People like Grant who are diehard Toyota lovers will argue until they're blue that Toyota can never be at fault" Where did I offer support for Toyota or any other specific brand of vehicle ? I'm offering nothing more than a simple physics lesson that anyone who understands anything about how automobiles actually work would understand . Half baked & nutty conspiracy theories are silly and fun but the fact is on every single car you have ever been in the brakes have more stopping power than the engine can overcome . Every , Single. Car > FWIW "unintended acceleration" has been claimed in many different cars , not just Toyotas...


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