Runaway Camrys, Lexus, Corollas, Tundras

A cameraman lost control of his camera on the Dave Letterman Show the other night.  It suddenly accelerated and was heading straight for Letterman’s desk when it was tackled and brought down.  Letterman dead-panned that the camera was made by Toyota.

CamryI’m glad we can laugh at this giant Toyota mess, but every day when I get into my car I think about what I’ll do if it suddenly takes off.  When I press on the accelerator I wonder if it’s going to surge out of control.   I do not believe the “fix” they’re decided upon, a tiny piece of metal the size of a postage stamp, will take care of the problem.  I do believe it’s the best solution if Toyota is to keep their bottom line healthy.  I think they care more about their profit margin than they do the innocent people who might die because they dragged their feet, took years to finally address the problem, and would not have done so then had the Department of Transportation not twisted their corporate arm.

Does anyone really believe a 15 cent shim will stop the sudden accelerations of Toyota cars and trucks?  Who really bought their previous explanation that the floor mats were somehow becoming entangled in the gas pedals?  What of the people who survived the accidents, and then were told by company officials they hit the gas when they meant to hit the brakes?

That happened recently to a man from Cleveland, TN.  His car suddenly accelerated and smashed through the wall of a grocery store.  Toyota suggested driver error:  he hit the accelerator by mistake.  Skid marks indicated otherwise.

My Uncle Phil never wanted to ride in my Toyota Camry.  He’d been a medic in the Pacific in World War II.  He saw the men who survived the Bataan Death March, and he hated the Japanese for what they had done.  Twice a week I drove Uncle Phil from his assisted living apartment to the Easter Seals facility for his water therapy.  I often sang the praises of my Camry;  it was a great car, so safe, so reliable.  Uncle Phil was not impressed.

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, survivors told of seeing the Japanese pilots as they dove toward the ships to drop their bombs.  The pilots were smiling.

Years ago, the Ford Motor Company made the decision it was cheaper to pay off the families of victims who died in fiery Pinto crashes than it was to repair the cars.  Hundreds of innocent people died, and Ford raked in the money.  Is this the decision Toyota made?  If, as has been reported, Toyota knew four years ago their accelerator and/or braking systems were defective, and if they hid that information so their image would not be tarnished and the money would keep rolling in, they are a sorry lot.  No better than those Ford executives of long ago.

I couldn’t sleep last night, thinking of my Uncle Phil and those Japanese pilots and my Corolla.  I wonder how long it will be before I get the certified letter telling me to bring my car in for repairs.  And when the repairs are done, will I ever again feel safe when I’m behind the wheel?

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