Deeper probe on SUA claims a must

Jerome NeriAtty. Jerome G. Neri
The Scrutineer

THE plot thickens on the alleged Mitsubishi Montero Sport sudden unintended acceleration. A few weeks ago, ABS-CBN released a video of what appears to be a sudden unintended acceleration (SUA) of a Montero at a police station. It really appeared to look like it. A few hours later, Top Gear Magazine posted the whole uncut video. After seeing the uncut video, it is very clear that this was a case of driver error. The driver stepped on the wrong pedal.

What was clear in the Top Gear video was that at first the Montero was being driven by another person. You could see this first driver applying the brakes while backing up as indicated by the brake lights turning on.

He then was replaced with another driver. It is also clear that when the second driver took over, you see the reverse lights turn on without the brake lights turning on, then chaos. It is obvious that the second driver shifted to reverse without stepping on the brakes, a complete no-no when driving an automatic. It is plausible that he may have thought he was pressing on the brakes but it was the accelerator pedal he was pressing.

WOODEN CAR. Visitors look at the wooden “splinter” car at the Motor Show in the city of Essen, Germany. Constructor Joe Harmon from the United States worked five years on the vehicle, that uses wood in every possible application, the engine is a V8 aluminum block. Europe’s leading fair for performance vehicles showed unique cars and tuning options earlier this month at the fair halls in Essen. (AP PHOTO)
WOODEN CAR. Visitors look at the wooden “splinter” car at the Motor Show in the city of Essen, Germany. Constructor Joe Harmon from the United States worked five years on the vehicle, that uses wood in every possible application, the engine is a V8 aluminum block. Europe’s leading fair for performance vehicles showed unique cars and tuning options earlier this month at the fair halls in Essen. (AP PHOTO)

Another mistake made by the second driver was that he put the car on drive instead of neutral, lunging the car forward at full speed to other cars. Anyways, I am convinced that this particular case was driver error.

However, there was also another video that surfaced that I found disturbing. In this video, we see the Montero Sport driving normally, then all of a sudden accelerates with lots of black smoke coming from the tailpipe, flying off the road. Unlike the other video, this one is inconclusive. One cannot say if it was caused by an electrical glitch or human error.

The DTI has stepped into the picture and doing a probe on the sudden unintended acceleration of the Montero Sport. It has been reported, but I don’t know how true, that one of the experts invited by the DTI stated that frequent car washing may have an effect on Monteros. As a lawyer and a self-taught automotive tuner, it is clear to me that the so called “expert” of the DTI is no expert at all. With that kind of “expert,” Mitsubishi Motors Phils. faces an uphill and unfair battle before the DTI.

Many local motoring publications and journalists are adamant that the Montero Sport has no problem at all. They say that it is the fault of the owners by stepping on the wrong pedal. But these are the same people who judged the Mitsubishi Mirage as Philippine Car of the year while the same car received the worst reviews abroad. Allegedly, there are 97 SUA complaints, thus, are these publications and journalists who are defending Mitsubishi Motors saying that there are 97 idiots who bought Montero Sports while there are no idiots who bought other cars?

There is a problem. The problem has to be investigated, identified and resolved. It must be done in a scientific manner with the correct experts. The possible causes that have been brought up are an electrical glitch or human error.

To determine whether or not there is an electrical/electronic problem with the Montero Sport, automotive engineers should not be on top of the list of experts for this problem but electrical and/or electronic engineers.

The Montero Sport is a car that is electronically controlled. Electronic signals are sent to the engine management unit from the accelerator input of the driver. Now if an electronic signal is sent by the accelerator to the engine management unit without any input by the driver, then we have sudden unintended acceleration. So we need electrical and/or electronic engineers to study the complex wiring and circuitry of the sensors and the engine control unit to see whether there is a possibility of some interference or stray signals.

One just cannot make a conclusion that frequent washing can contribute to the problem without pointing out the weak link in the electronics, wiring and circuitry of the vehicle. To get to the truth of the possibility of an electronic glitch, will take time and will cost a lot but it must be done.

If the problem is human error, this does not mean that Mitsubishi Motors is off the hook. There are 97 or so complainants/victims. Ergonomic experts should be brought in to study the pedal placement of the Montero Sport so that one can understand whether or not there is a design flaw in the placement of the pedals that makes this car susceptible to misapplication of the pedals. If, no design flaw can be found and it is really the fault of the drivers, then we are left with 97 idiots whose driver’s licenses should be revoked.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *