Lexus RX 350 Drives Off Roof
John Goreham's picture

Amazing Lexus RX 350 crash proves vehicle's safety

An elderly woman in Hawaii drove her Lexus RX 350 off a 4-story building, landed upside down, and not only lived, but exited the vehicle herself. Why this is no surprise.

Just how far vehicle safety has come in the past ten years was displayed in dramatic fashion this past week when an elderly woman drove her Lexus RX 350 off the fourth floor of a parking garage. The Lexus fell the full four floors and landed on its roof. Amazingly, the elderly woman driving the RX 350 crawled out of the mostly intact Lexus and was in stable condition following the crazy crash.

Roof Crush Testing
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is the organization here in the US that performs the most rigorous, and most highly respected, safety evaluations of passenger vehicles. Not long ago it instituted a new safety test that was intended to save lives in rollovers. The test placed a load on the top corner of the roof of a vehicle. The benchmark is that a vehicle should withstand four-times its own weight and allow only 5 inches of deformation. The Lexus RX 350 when safety tested by IIHS in its laboratory handled 4.27 its weight and thus earned a “Good” rating by IIHS. When tested by Ms. B. Taba last week in Hawaii, the rating was also good.

Crash Standards Now Very Tough
IIHS has also added a new small-frontal-overlap test that initially gave the manufacturers fits. It simulates a vehicle hitting a non-deformable object with just the front corner of the vehicle. Think telephone pole. Initially, vehicles that had been acing their crash tests failed, and redesigns are still on-going. With the new small frontal overlap test, IIHS has almost all real-life scenarios covered. Yes, excessive speed can still kill passengers, but at this point it is fair to say more time, weight, and money spent improving the crash structure of our vehicles is beyond the point of diminishing returns. So what next?

Driver Aids Now The New Safety Area To Watch
The new paradigm for automotive safety is not to build ever stronger vehicles, but rather ones that won’t crash. Just like in the structural safety area automakers and safety groups are focusing first on the most common types of bad accidents. Almost all vehicles in the 2015 model year above $30K will have forward crash prevention (FCP) made available as an option. As I have said in past stories, this is an option I will never buy a car without forward crash prevention again. This might even have kept Ms. Taba from going off the roof of the garage. It is hard to say. The barriers were just wires strung horizontally across the roof edge. A guard rail or other larger object would for sure have been seen by the current FCP systems and stopped her vehicle.

Conclusion – Lexus Is Good, but So Are Many Others
The vehicle 79-year-old Ms. Taba drove off a fourth-floor roof and was able to exit on her own, was a premium Lexus RX 350. Yes, the Lexus is a very well built vehicle. The great news is that with so much focus on vehicle safety these days, that is the norm, not the exception.

Related Stories:
A new test may save you from a vehicle rollover injury
Toyota Tacoma fans want a safer roof design to match 2015 Chevy Colorado
2014 Chevy Silverado uses expensive materials to make a tougher more durable truck

Still image courtesy of Youtube and OnlineANews

Subscribe to Torque News on YouTube.

Follow Torque News on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.


What caused the crash in the first place? IF sudden unintended acceleration, then no crash prevention software will help! Toyota needs to design-in critical safety standards in its throttle control software to begin with! Yes! The crash safety ratings are needed because so many of these vehicles are TAKING OFF with ineffective braking and crashing into storefronts, buildings, and homes!
Your comment makes HUGE leaps. Many elderly have been found to have mistaken the accelerator for the brake. It happens. Personal accountability is gravely lacking in this society. I've been hit by an elderly driver in broad daylight who couldn't hear well enough to even give the officer information. Too many families don't take the keys from elders who clearly have no ability to drive. That's a much bigger problem!
What is the reason for the car falling down from the forth floor?? Why isn't anyone talking about that. Why did her car accelerated like that? Is it sudden unintended acceleration which is very common in Toyota and Lexus. Highway patrol officer and 3 members of his families were killed in a runaway Lexus. On August 28, 2009, California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor, his wife, daughter and brother-in-law were killed in an uncontrolled acceleration crash in a 2009 Lexus ES350 in San Diego. Unlike the many deadly Toyota sudden acceleration before, this crash was captured on a 911 call made by Mrs Saylor from the speeding car with a stuck accelerator before it crashed and killed all the occu¬pants. At the time of the crash, NHTSA did not have a single open invest¬igation in Toyota sudden acceleration. Toyota exploited to avoid recalls until the tragic crash in San Diego in August 2009 that resulted in 4 deaths in a Lexus driven by an experienced highway patrol officer who was unable to bring the vehicle to a stop. But for the crash being caught on a 911 tape, the recent recalls would not have occurred because the crash would have gone unnoticed like so many before it which the agency blamed on driver error
WOW This is straight to the point! No need to expand on this!Well Done the Saylor Family would be proud of you!!!!
Not one case of unintended acceleration has ever been proved by government, auto makers, or independent agencies. Why would a highway patrolman not put a car in neutral or pull the parking brake? There's much more to the Saylor story than meets the eye. Of course, if you don't trust Toyota, you can buy a number of other makes...most of which would NEVER hold up like this one.
If you click the link in the story, the news report indicates possible pedal confusion by the elderly driver. At this point no other information is available.
GET OFF THE ICE John this is a Computer Malfunction!Have you ever been in a Vehicle that has had an SUA?My Mum n Brother has and it was in a Toyota Corolla in Australia! They were both at Missile speeds with no Brakes! THEY both thought they were going to DIE! Toyota at first said it was pedal confusion then came back with Mat intrapment?Who was confused then?
Go do your research rather than take some isolated events. If you think Toyota and Lexus have unintended acceleration problems you're a wrong, there are plenty of stats out there to show percentage wise they don't have anything unusual going on, virtually all the cases have been proven to be driver error just like most unintended acceleration cases with ANY brand. So easy to blame the car and company and never the driver.
Over $5 billion has been paid so far and over 2000 American have been killed and injured and ongoing lawsuits... The U.S. Justice Department announced a criminal fraud charge against Toyota Motor for misleading customers about unintended acceleration complaints in its cars, and said it would defer prosecution in exchange for a $1.2 billion fine, the largest in history against any automaker. The government also said it would appoint an independent monitor to review Toyota’s safety processes and reporting procedures for the next three years. “In its zeal to stanch bad publicity in 2009 and 2010, Toyota misled regulators, misled customers, and even misstated the facts to Congress” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. “Even while giving unequivocal assurances that it had fully addressed a grave safety problem, Toyota knew full well that the problem of unwanted acceleration persisted.” Toyota admits deceiving consumers; $1.2-billion penalty is record Carmaker says it misled consumers and regulators about two defects that caused sudden-acceleration incidents. 'Toyota put sales over safety, and profit over principle,' FBI says. In a landmark settlement of criminal charges, Toyota Motor Corp. admitted deceiving regulators about deadly safety defects and agreed to pay $1.2 billion, the largest penalty ever imposed on an automaker. “Toyota put sales over safety, and profit over principle,” said George Venizelos, assistant director of the FBI. “The disregard Toyota had for the safety of the public was outrageous. Not only did Toyota fail to recall cars with problem parts, they continued to manufacture new cars with the same parts they knew were deadly.”
Then by all means, make the choice to buy another make. I'm not buying your diatribe. Blame anything or anyone except the real culprit....a poor driver.
I have done my research, I am a Lexus SUA victim... Sudden Unintended Acceleration is real, it happened to me in 2005. I had purchased a brand new 2004 ES 330 Lexus while sitting at the red light my car took off like a rocket going through the red light. By the time I realized what was happening my car was going over 100 miles an hour and I realized that I did not have brake and I could hear the accelerator revving. All I was able to do hold on to the wheel trying to avoid hitting anyone. All I could think that my car was going to kill people. I was so fortunate that no one was kill and what eventually happen I end up on the other side of the street hitting a SUV head on totaling both cars. The dashboard fell on my legs and crushed both legs severely. The SUV driver had some minor damages. As the result of my Lexus suddenly accelerating, I have had 24 surgeries and more in future. My left leg will have to be amputated above the knee since surgery can not do any good anymore and my right ankle will have to be fused since I am in sever pain. I hope Toyota stops the lies and fix those cars rather than blaming the elderly drivers. Azar Hadi Brannan
It takes more than a quarter mile and more than 15 seconds for an ES 330 in the best of conditions to accelerate to "Over 100 miles per hour." It must have been a very scary event. If you are part of the ongoing litigation please tell us the location of the trial and the name so we can watch the result and report on it. We hope the decade since the accident happened has helped shed some light on the technical causes that we can report from the trial transcripts. Thanks for sharing your story.
Thank you John for your interest. I will keep you in mind as I get closer to trial.
Not buying it. Too many people looking to blame anything or anyone else for their blunders.
Sooooo easy to blame the vehicle owners and Toyota has done just that! Toyota$$ friends assist as needed. Toyota's "driver error" stats are a statistical IMPOSSIBILITY, not just an improbability! Drivers aren't willing to be part of a "shake down!" What's being done to Toyota & Lexus vehicle owners after sudden unintended acceleration crashes is UNCONSCIONABLE! What's being done to them behind-the-scenes is reprehensible! All adds up to more automaker criminal behavior, according to those impacted by SUA!
Even when drivers declare emphatically that their foot was in the brake, Toyota says, "The data shows your were not braking." Don't you think the drivers KNOW if they were braking or not? Why didn't tell the vehicle owners that they would be blamed should the subject of sudden unintended acceleration ever come up? Toyota has been misleading the public for years, say these SUA victims! Their consciences won't allow them to trade them in to other UNSUSPECTING buyers! Who is the self-avowed deceiver in the SUA saga? Who his information from customers, lawmakers, NHTSA, & public? Who stands to gain the most by covering up? I rest my case!
Those passionate about the unintended acceleration issue may like this new opinion story on the subject - This story was in process prior to the Lexus off-the-roof story. Sorry - comments do not support hyperlinks:
Interesting article to read and become wise. OP-ED CONTRIBUTORS Weak Oversight, Deadly Cars KATHERINE STREETER By CLARENCE DITLOW and RALPH NADER OCTOBER 28, 2014 WHEN regulators sleep and auto companies place profits over safety, safety defects pile up. A record number of vehicles — more than 50 million — have been recalled this year, a result of congressional hearings and Justice Department prosecutions, which exposed a mass of deadly defects that the auto industry had concealed. From the Ford Explorer rollovers in the 1990s and Toyotas’ issue with unintended acceleration in the 2000s to the recent fatal consequences of defective General Motors ignition switches and Takata airbags, the auto companies hid defects to avoid recalls and save money. These and other major defects were first exposed by safety advocates who petitioned the government and by reporters in the tradition of Bob Irvin of The Detroit News, who wrote over 35 articles on Chevrolet engine mounts until General Motors agreed to recall 6.7 million vehicles in 1971. These campaigners did the job the regulator should have done. Congress gave the Department of Transportation authority to regulate the auto industry through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — including subpoena authority to find defects. But it used this authority so infrequently after the ’70s that its acting administrator, David J. Friedman, told Congress this year that he didn’t even know it had the power. The N.H.T.S.A. also failed to require companies to disclose death-claim records in civil lawsuits over the Toyota accelerations, G.M. ignition switches and Takata airbags. In order to prevent the risk of death or serious injury, Congress empowered the agency to oblige auto companies to use alternate suppliers and independent repair shops to manufacture parts and make repairs to expedite a recall fix. Yet the N.H.T.S.A. has never used this authority — even though it took General Motors from February to October to get enough parts to dealers to repair all the recalled ignition switches. Only after a lengthy delay was the agency prodded, in 2009, into opening an investigation into whether the first two Honda recalls of Takata airbags were adequate. Although the agency asked tough questions, it quickly closed the investigation after Takata hired a former senior N.H.T.S.A. official to represent the company. The agency’s attitude, in short, was: Don’t bother us with the facts. More facts did come out when BMW, Honda, Nissan and Toyota recalled millions of Takata airbags from 2010 to 2013. Still, the N.H.T.S.A. opened no investigations and ordered no recalls on the airbags. Honda also failed to disclose death and injury claims on Takata airbags, as required by law. Even now — after reports of a third death in the United States associated with the airbags — the N.H.T.S.A. refuses to order a national recall, as Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Edward Markey of Massachusetts have urged. What explains this neglect? Over time, the N.H.T.S.A. has been captured by the industry it regulates. Through the ’70s, it aggressively litigated cases to force recalls, and it caught most defects early in the life of a vehicle. Beginning in the ’80s, however, numerous officials — including Diane K. Steed, Jerry Ralph Curry, Sue Bailey and David L. Strickland, who all served as head of the agency, and Erika Z. Jones, Jacqueline S. Glassman and Paul Jackson Rice, who all served as chief counsel to the agency — have gone on to become consultants, lawyers or expert witnesses for auto companies. What’s more, the agency is heavily populated by former industry employees. Ms. Glassman, for example, had been a lawyer for Chrysler before working at the agency (and is now at a law firm that represents auto companies). The agency’s last non-acting administrator, Mr. Strickland, went to work in January of 2014 for a firm representing Chrysler — the same month the agency approved an inadequate recall of Chrysler Jeeps with fuel tanks liable to explode as a result of rear impacts. Although Congress has given the N.H.T.S.A. regulatory tools that the agency failed to use, Congress has not given it the two things it needs most: sufficient funding, and the power to bring criminal penalties against auto companies. The agency’s annual vehicle safety budget is a puny $134 million. Unlike other federal regulators, the N.H.T.S.A. does not have its own research and test facility. Since the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act was enacted in 1966, the industry has blocked any meaningful provision for criminal penalties that would make company executives who concealed defects or decided not to recall dangerous vehicles subject to prison sentences. No single reform would change corporate behavior as much as this. Only a complete overhaul of the agency’s culture will prevent future recalls, since automakers will always place sales and profits over safety and innovation. This should start with closing the revolving door, adopting criminal penalties and increasing funding. All auto companies should have an independent, government-certified safety ombudsman to investigate complaints from whistle-blowers and to report defects directly to the chief executive and the agency. Above all, the agency’s leaders must have proven transportation safety expertise. They must demonstrate that they see auto companies as an industry to be regulated, rather than partners whose profits and sales must be protected at the public’s expense. Clarence Ditlow is the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety. Ralph Nader is the author of “Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.
NOT ONE CASE OF UNINTENDED ACCELERATION HAS EVER BEEN PROVED. NASA, other government agencies, Toyota, and several other manufacturers such as Audi, have never been able to duplicate the problem. Not to say it doesn't exist; however, there are, in fact, many bad drivers in the world. After working on numerous accident cases, Lexus is among the best, if not THE best, for safety. As far as the Saylor family, that Lexus was a "loaner" which had been through numerous parties. I still question why a trained state patrolman didn't shove the auto in neutral and pull the parking brake. Something very suspicious about that car and it likely has less to do with Toyota than the number of people in possession of it long before the Saylors.
Cognito... Very interesting, nothing has been prove... Bookout v Toyota, Toyota lost not only had to pay compensatory but also punitive damages..Besides Mark Saylor there are over 2000 people in US alone that have been killed and injured...Toyota has paid so far over $5 billion and admitted to lying to congress, defrauding and conceiving consumers..on probation for 3 want me to go on..another thing you can do Google Toyota/Lexus sudden unintended acceleration...while you are at it check out Michael Barr who was the expert in Bookout case...Toyota is nothing but and admitted crook with a lot of money who is able to lie and sell its defective cars to innocent people around the world.
I can not wait to buy a Lexus that can fly from fourth floor going head down to the ground...Talk about quality and sudden unintended acceleration...
You may be unaware of it, but the NHTSA investigations into the Toyota SUA problem, one of which included a very short-duration study by NASA, were found to be flawed for a number of reasons by more than one expert electronics engineer. First, the study was very time-limited. Therefore. testing was inadequate/incomplete. Secondly, Toyota did not supply a critical piece of information (intentional?) to NASA and as a result, NASA omitted some important testing. Because of the flawed nature of that study, the conclusions drawn are erroneous. Aside from this fact, NASA did not find a defect within the scope of its investigation. NOTE: NASA did not and could not conclude that one did not exist. Those of us who are very concerned about Toyota sudden unintended acceleration rely on the findings of such reknowned embedded systems experts as Michael Barr, independent electrical engineering consultant Dr. Antony Anderson, Dr. Henning Leidecker, Dr. Ron Belt, and Dr. David Gilbert, among others. Michael Barr's study of Toyota's electronic throttle control system was not the time-limited one that NASA's study was. In addition, far more testing of possible code errors was done. A critical finding was that when a specific error in code occurred in the ETCS-I software, it could not only cause an open throttle condition but it could also result in a no fail-safe situation. That is a deadly situation, I'm sure you will agree! Why was the NHTSA's study so limited in scope? Why haven't the findings of the above expert engineers been factored in? Why has the emphasis been totally on mechanical or external causes of Toyota SUA? Why the media spin that there is no electronic cause for Toyota's SUA when the spin is based on flawed studies? Is it because Toyota doesn't want to bow to public pressure to do the right thing? Charlene McCarthy Blake
SUA, scary. I owned a 1977 Toyota Celica which was a marvelous car and safe for its time, (hit a couple of deer @ about 45-50, car sustained significant damage but did not loose control, no injuries to myself or the passenger and the car was able to be put back together with no problem). I now own a '04 4Runner, purchased new and now has just over 50,000, still looks new inside and out until you look under the car. It is not an unsafe condition yet, but left unaddressed for a couple more years and could be, the suspension and undercarriage are rotting away and for the most part it has been garage kept. This is a known problem, I think on the Tundra with similar problems,Toyota is offering a NOMINAL compensation, nothing on the 4Runner, not even a notification from Toyota? There are allot of people who never look under their vehicle. This certainly is not a case of, "we didn't know" so it leads me to question what is going on with the SUA issue. It certainly appears to be more than just a, "driver error" issue. I probably won't be buying another Toyota brand again, VERY DISAPPOINTING. Let me add that this is not a problem unique to Toyota, Honda, (airbags), GM, (ignition switch), for example. Something's amiss in the entire industry when these type of safety issues, even if only suspect, go unaddressed for so long.
Poor Toyota I think Toyota should be able to approve the customer or Disapproval if the customer can't drive. I been in Toyota's I find the gas pedal over sensitive but works . how dare you blame stupidity on Toyota? I disapprove of this money grabbed rubbish I drive a ford now and hate it . I been to the wreckers almost every Honda that should have deployed airbag did not . Let's just brush that under the mat And the ignition switch for Gm we know that's true I think that's way more dangerous losing power steering abs and oh yah air bag deploy what's the point of putting safety futures on a car if there going to shut off when you need them? But let's pick on Toyota . And give the money to Gm to keep in buissness. Yet closing down more factories for more profit??¿?????