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Vehicles go out of control

Source: SBS News

Despite 766 cases of suspected unintended acceleration of vehicles according to the Korea Transportation Safety Authority, there was not one court case where unintended acceleration was recognized as the problem. A recent crash in Daegu by an electric taxi on Sept. 15 may change that.

Around midnight of Sept. 15, the taxi collided with an SUV traveling the opposite direction that crossed the centerline. After the collision, the taxi suddenly sped up, reaching a speed of 188 km/h and crashed into another vehicle before finally stopping. Both the taxi driver and the passenger claimed the driver had pressed the brakes, turned off the engine, and engaged the side brakes.

“It is scary to hear more and more stories of unintended acceleration arise, especially on taxis,” Hyunseo Lee (12), frequent taxi user, said. “I hope car manufacturers take these issues more seriously, and taxi drivers stay alert of any defects in their cars to maintain safety of the passengers and other drivers on the road.”

Although the dash cam video suggests that the car suddenly accelerated while the driver attempted to stop the car, to prove that the driver is not at fault there must be evidence of the driver not pressing the gas pedal, either through video evidence or the Event Data Recorder (EDR) data. This is important to prove that the driver did not confuse the brake pedal for the accelerator pedal.

However, the requirements for the proof remain controversial. An ongoing court case of an unintended acceleration crash that occurred on Dec. 6, 2022, has not been resolved as the EDR analysis suggests the driver never pressed the brake pedal. The car manufacturer has also not been cooperative in resolving the case, so the court case remains indefinitely unsolved. 

Some argue that the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport and vehicle manufacturers are not taking enough action in resolving unintended acceleration cases, as the proposed plan of adding brake pressure value to EDR and a pedal view dash cam has seen no advances. Others claim most cases are people mistakenly pressing the accelerator pedal. In either case, the manufacturer should still be proactive in releasing the EDR data such that people are not wrongly judged.

“In terms of the industry, I understand why the manufacturer would not want to release the data,” Ian Park (12), aspiring engineer, said. “But this isn’t a matter of releasing the information or not; a change in the system is necessary. I think it would be better if the manufacturer created a cutoff button or an electricity cycle button to prevent such unintended accelerations. A second thing I think they should do is to incorporate preventative measures to unintended acceleration as part of the license process. There is no one person to blame for this from an engineering perspective.”

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Andrew Shin, Reporter
Andrew is a senior reporter for Tiger Times Online. He enjoys cycling, watching anime, and listening to some 🎶 jazz 🎶 in his off-time. Feel free to approach him with anime recommendations!

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