Planet Gore

The Show Must Go On

The Toyota Tort Circus now includes 61-year-old James Sikes, whose alleged runaway Prius last week ran stole the headlines from Toyota engineers’ exposure — just one day earlier — of ABC’s fraudulent report alleging runaway Toyota Avalons. Toyota’s engineers were back at the mike again Monday gamely trying to rationalize irrational tort claims (Sikes lawyer says his client is a victim of “ghosts in the machine”).

But behind the clowns, the Sikes circus revealed two truths.
1.) Congress’ brake override “fix” is irrelevant.
After two weeks of Congressional hearings, Washington pols had seized on a silver bullet to solve “instant acceleration”: A mandate that all cars come with a “brake-override” system that shuts off the accelerator when the brake is applied. But, though most Toyotas do not have brake-override, the Prius Sikes was driving does. As Automotive News reports: “Toyota said a brake override in the Prius would have cut engine power to the vehicle had the driver applied ‘moderate’ pressure on the brake pedal.” So much for silver bullets. Driver error anyone?
2.) The tort-enabling media has already made up its mind.
Despite a history (accelerating Audis, exploding GM trucks, accelerating Jeeps) of false-alarm “ghost in the machine” scares, the tort-friendly media always comes to the same conclusion: The corporation did it. Cue Harry Smith on CBS Early Show, whose guest was Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) trying to explain the inconsistencies — and possible human error — behind Mr. Sikes’s claims.
“Does this giant corporation need your help to defend it?” Smith growled at Issa. Driver error? Stick to the script, dammit.

Henry Payne — Henry Payne is the auto critic for the Detroit News.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Kat Timpf Chased Out of Brooklyn Bar

Fox News personality and National Review contributor Kat Timpf was forced to leave a bar in Brooklyn over the weekend after a woman she had never met became enraged upon learning she worked in conservative media. Timpf, who has twice previously been harassed while socializing in New York City, first described ... Read More
Film & TV

The Dan Crenshaw Moment

Given the spirit of our times, things could have gone so differently. On November 3, when Saturday Night Live comic Pete Davidson mocked Texas Republican Dan Crenshaw’s eye patch, saying he looked like a “hit man in a porno movie” — then adding, “I know he lost his eye in war or whatever” — it was a ... Read More

The Present American Revolution

The revolution of 1776 sought to turn a colony of Great Britain into a new independent republic based on constitutionally protected freedom. It succeeded with the creation of the United States. The failed revolution of 1861, by a slave-owning South declaring its independence from the Union, sought to bifurcate ... Read More

Florida’s Shame, and Ours

Conspiracy theories are bad for civic life. So are conspiracies. I wonder if there is one mentally normal adult walking these fruited plains -- even the most craven, abject, brain-dead partisan Democrat -- who believes that what has been going on in Broward County, Fla., is anything other than a brazen ... Read More