- Feb 14, 2013
Frank Lecerf, French Driver, Can't Stop Car Going 125 MPH
He claims the gas pedal stuck, and every time he hit the brake the car would accelerate
A French man was heading to the supermarket when his car decided it didn't want to stop, according to The Guardian.
The resulting escapade took him on a high-speed car chase at speeds up 125 miles per hour as police tried to stop him. It ended, after an hour, when the car ran out of gas, and driver Frank Lecerf crashed the Renault Laguna into a ditch.
Lecerf said the car first jammed when it was going around 60 mph. Every time he tried to brake, the speed increased, eventually hitting 125 mph.
Lecerf told Le Courier de Picard that the gas pedal had stuck before, and every time it stuck he brought it in to the Renault dealer to be repaired. The mechanics would keep the car for two or three days, and say there was nothing wrong with it.
His lawyer told the paper they will sue Renault for endangering the lives of others.
Sudden acceleration -- the term for cars that keep going even when the driver wants to stop -- has been an intermittent problem for automakers over the years. Most recently, Toyota recalled more than 10 million vehicles for gas pedal issues. They discovered water could condense in the gas pedal and cause them to stick open, and they also found floormats could stick under the pedal and keep cars accelerating.
Toyota just settled its sudden acceleration cases for an undisclosed amount, but the company told shareholders they'd set aside $1 billion to settle the various cases around the globe. On Thursday, Toyota said it had settled with the attorneys generals of 29 states who'd had sudden acceleration cases fall within their districts. They agreed to pay out $29 million to the states, and to avoid advertising with safety claims unless those claims are backed by engineering data.
Renault won't likely face the same fate, unless multiple drivers come out saying their cars have accelerated without their control. The car Lecerf drove was altered to accommodate a disability, and alterations often void warranties.
When Toyota faced its sudden acceleration claims, many people asked why the drivers didn't put the car into neutral. Even on automatic cars, vehicles can be shifted into neutral while driving to stop the engine from revving and controlling the car's speed. It's the No. 1 piece of advice AOL Autos could give to drivers facing the same issue, and even before -- practice putting the car into neutral while driving at speed, and then putting it back into drive. It's easy, and can help regain control in panicked situations.