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RE: Unintended Acceleration

As many know, this issue has been kicked back and forth for years (indeed, I
remember the 60 minutes episode well, having just purchased an '80 5000S
(5spd, mind you).  About 6 months after the episode, I walked into
Martin-Johnson Porsche-Audi in Oakland for some parts, and the parts guy
says, "You should've been here yesterday.  Some guy called in a panic, said
he was barely able to make it off the Nimitz (I-880 now).  The car lurched
ahead and he could barely stop it.  So we called the guys in the white coats
from LA, and a whole team of Audi engineers showed up the next day.  THey
rushed over to the car, and peered in the window.  GUess what?  It was a 5 spd."

Road & Track did an excellent autopsy on the 60 minutes episode and the
whole issue in (I think) 1990.  It was a very carefully crafted explanation
of the engineering, environmental, and psychological factors that
contributed to the accusations.  R & T came to the conclusion that Audi was
victimized by poor journalism, and effective interest group lobbying (by
people not wanting to admit that perhaps--just maybe--driver error
contributed to putting gramps through the garage door.  The R&T article
discussed an interesting study they participated in that involved UC Irvine
and the University of Michigan and included a team of engineers and
psychologists observing drivers on a driving course, and what their
reactions were when distracted, and what their RECOLLECTIONS were regarding
the nature of the distraction, and their resonses to it.

- Jim