Toyota has made an important change in most of its models, which could save lives if the vehicle’s accelerator sticks open.
The automaker decided to modify the start-stop buttons in the majority of its models, so that the driver can shut the engine off pushing the button quickly three times or continuously pushing it for two seconds. This is a big change from the old policy which required a continuous three-second push of the button in order to shut the engine off.
The start-stop button issue was quite controversial in car crash that killed an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer and three members of his family in 2010 outside San Diego. Officials discovered that in a panic situation pushing the button required a much longer time than intuitively expected. At the time Toyota officials defended the matter, saying that it was of utmost importance to make sure drivers or the passengers wouldn’t turn off the car inadvertently by brushing against it.
According to Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons, the change of the start-stop button to two-seconds started a year ago and currently, all Toyota and Lexus vehicles, beginning from August 2010 have the three-quick push buttons to stop the engine. The company also said that there are few Toyota and Lexus models to get this change.