Is It Bad Engineering Or Peddle Misapplication?

2007 Toyota Prius Touring Edition

I’m going to be forced into the market to replace a car soon and selfishly hope that everyone continues to pile on Toyota. The way I figure it, the more they try and trash the company, the lower they drive prices, thus reducing my purchase price.

I’ve recently had the opportunity to drive a Prius and found it to be one of the most remarkable pieces of engineering I’ve seen in some time. I’m one who has always opted for performance and power over economy but this car completely changed my mind.

I’ve also been of the opinion that the entire Toyota “sudden acceleration” contretemps is of a piece with previous automotive product defect sensations. For instance, the Audi issues of the ’80s were eventually found to be one attributable to driver error, not engineering. Nevertheless, millions of dollars were passed from Audi’s hands to the lawyers with a bit spilling over to their clients. I’ve little doubt that this is nothing more than the same scam dressed up in 21st Century technology.

But the point of this post was to direct you to two good blog posts on the subject. One by Megan McArdlele and the other by Tyler Cowen. Here is an excerpt from McArdles post.:

The Los Angeles Times recently did a story detailing all of the NHTSA reports of Toyota “sudden acceleration” fatalities, and, though the Times did not mention it, the ages of the drivers involved were striking.

In the 24 cases where driver age was reported or readily inferred, the drivers included those of the ages 60, 61, 63, 66, 68, 71, 72, 72, 77, 79, 83, 85, 89–and I’m leaving out the son whose age wasn’t identified, but whose 94-year-old father died as a passenger.

These “electronic defects” apparently discriminate against the elderly, just as the sudden acceleration of Audis and GM autos did before them. (If computers are going to discriminate against anyone, they should be picking on the young, who are more likely to take up arms against the rise of the machines and future Terminators).

Take the time to read both posts as well as the Times article and keep them in mind as you watch the legal vultures circle.

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