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2015 Chrysler 200 highlights ways automakers will end sudden acceleration crashes once and for all

The new 2015 Chrysler 200 breaks new ground for safety in its class. Look closely and you will see that these safety systems can do more than advertised.

Sudden acceleration in automobiles is a broad term. To some it means the car has an evil glitch that makes it roar forward and cause destruction and death. To some other folks it means that a person, usually older, has accidentally confused the pedals and a bad event has happened. Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to worry about what it means anymore? New car technologies like those featured in the 2015 Chrysler 200 may take us to that point.

What is the Result of Sudden Acceleration?
Regardless of why it happens news reports of people driving cars into buildings, and sadly other people, are still commonplace. Those who fixate on one brand as the boogeyman, or blame new technology, are able to somehow look away from the fact that every car maker has had problems highlighted in the media related to this, and the fact that this problem existed before modern electronic throttles. Whether the true causes are known or not, there have been many attempts to remedy the problem. Now, a host of new technologies, all designed to prevent other types of accidents, may conspire to end the issue once and for all.

Chrysler's Safehold System
At a recent presentation expertly given by J.T. Delcamp, the product champion for the all-new 2015 Chrysler 200, I learned about a cool new technology I have never before seen. It is easy to understand. In the new 200, the parking brake is electronic as it is in some other new cars. It is a small actuator on the console, rather than a mechanical pedal or hand-pull. Really the actuator just sends a signal to the car to put the parking brake on. Chrysler took that and made more of it. They now use both the door sensor and the seatbelt sensor to detect if a person has the car in drive, unbuckles, and opens the door to try to exit. If they do, the parking brake comes on. Simple. The system is called Safehold. It won’t let you create a situation where you step out and the car rolls away or worse. Worse is when that starts to happen, you then jump back in and stab at a pedal. If you hit the gas accidentally, bad things then transpire. I loved this feature because Chrysler is “underselling it”. It is more important than they are letting on.

How Will Forward Collision Prevention Help?
The Chrysler 200 also has state of the art forward collision prevention. Many cars now have this, but it is rapidly evolving. Chrysler’s system will bring the car to a full stop at low speeds if the car senses that a collision will otherwise occur (think under 12 MPH). I know people who have confused the brake and accelerator and driven into things in parking situations. This system would have stopped those accidents.

We cannot go back in time and prevent the tragic loss of lives and financial resources that have been wasted by sudden acceleration. However, new smart driver aids and safety technologies may help us to prevent repeats of past problems.

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Jackie Ferrara (not verified)    June 13, 2014 - 6:48PM

I've always thought the brake and gas were too close together and that people should learn to drive with both feet. I've heard the argument against this-wearing out the brakes by riding the break and being unable to adapt from a standard to an automatic... I just never like the arguments against my idea!

Lando S (not verified)    June 14, 2014 - 12:01AM

What happen to me once years ago I was sitting at a red light and suddenly something told me the light had changed and I hit the gas pedal. But that split second I snapped back and hit the brake and shaking wondering what had just happened. With so many people on the road at all age groups we never know when something may happen, any safety features will be very helpful.

Jim Weinzierl (not verified)    June 15, 2014 - 6:23PM

On a 2000 Intrepid I put mud floor mats over the stock floor mats and while passing an 18 wheeler I put the pedal to the floor . When I was done I look my foot off the gas but the car was accelerating at full throttle . I grew up in the car business and just reached down and pulled the carpet back but I thought what if this happened to my wife . I took out the original matts and made clearence for the foot feed .