Toyota has announced that starting with its 2011 models; it will include 6 safety technologies for all vehicles.
The Star Safety System includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Smart Stop Technology (SST).
Toyota describes 3 of these technologies
Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) is an electronic system designed to help the driver maintain vehicle control under adverse conditions. It is not a substitute for safe driving practices. Factors including speed, road conditions and driver steering input can all affect whether VSC will be effective in preventing a loss of control.
Brake Assist is designed to help the driver take full advantage of the benefits of ABS. It is not a substitute for safe driving practices. Braking effectiveness also depends on proper brake-system maintenance and tire and road conditions.
Smart Stop Technology operates only in the event of certain simultaneous brake and gas pedal applications. When engaged, the system will reduce engine power to help the brakes bring the vehicle to a stop. Factors including speed, road conditions and driver input can all impact stopping distance. Smart Stop Technology is not a substitute for safe and attentive driving and does not guarantee instant stopping.
Apparently the first car off the line to feature these standard 6 will be the 2011 Toyota Corolla which comes out in January.
While all car manufacturers seem to be reporting increased sales this month, Toyota reported a drop as it continues to fight its safety problems.
The newspaper The Independent reported G.M. had an increase of11.4% in sales over last year and Ford rose 24.3% from the same period in 2009. Toyota, the world’s largest carmaker and number three in the U.S., dropped 7.3% in the U.S.
A lady in the office where I work owns a Toyota Corolla. Back in the spring of 2010 when the papers were full of stories about the safety issues, the sticking accelerators, brakes not working, a group of us were idly chatting before a meeting. This lady mentioned the model of her car and we were all chuckling as she recounted how she was worried about driving wondering what if one of these safety problems cropped up while she was behind the wheel. What to do? Put the car in neutral if the accelerator stuck. Use the emergency brake if the regular brakes did not function.
We discussed this famous YouTube video of a Prius down in California which was running at a high speed with the owner on his cell phone reporting the car’s accelerator was stuck and he couldn’t get the car to stop. The police supposedly stopped it by moving in front of the speeding car and then braking slowly to force the car to stop.
It was all worrisome and amusing. However it turned out the entire Prius incident was false; the owner faked the entire incident to try and get compensation.
The media circus which "erupted" at the time of the Toyota recalls put undue attention on any and all faults of Toyota automobiles. The company has yet to escape this ugly period of its history and this new 6 Star System is an attempt to emphasize in the public’s mind that the company is paying attention.
It is interesting, in looking back on the recalls in general. Wikipedia points out, In February 2010, Car and Driver executive editor Mike Dushane wrote that the "media circus" overlooked the fact that "the numbers don’t reveal a meaningful problem", with the alleged fatality risk at about 1 in 200,000 recalled Toyota vehicles, versus a 1 in 8,000 risk of a fatal car accident in any car in the U.S. Was the criticism of Toyota disproportionate to the problems in their cars?
In my blog Parachuting: If God had meant me to… I talked about the dangers of doing such a supposedly risky stunt. It turns out that the statistics clearly show that my chances of dying while sky diving are 1 in 100,000 while my chances of dying in a car are 1 in 6,000. I’m 17 times safer jumping out of an airplane! Why are we worried about parachuting? The web site howstuffworks explained that skydiving accidents are so infrequent, they usually hit the headlines while car accidents are so frequent, they are either not reported or we just tend to ignore them.
How bad were Toyota cars in comparison with other cars? How bad are they now? They are as dangerous as the next headline. The 6 Star Safety System while admittedly a publicity campaign will hopefully assure a skittish public that statistically you’re as safe in a Toyota as in any car.
Click HERE to read more from William Belle
official Toyota web site:
Toyota Canada announces the Toyota Star Safety System: First full-line manufacturer to make six active safety features standard on every new 2011 vehicle
Wikipedia: 2009–2010 Toyota vehicle recalls