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'Smart key,' dumb idea

October 25, 2009

Re "Toyota's woes may not end at floor mats," Oct. 18

In response to your article on Toyota and Lexus and the inability of drivers to stop the vehicles: I'm an engineer. I've never -- never -- seen any mechanical or electrical device that was not equipped with an emergency "off" switch, one that was immediately effective. The fact that Toyota engineers chose not to so equip the Lexus is incomprehensible to me. It reflects incompetence.

My suggestion: A recall of all vehicles thus equipped for a retrofit so there is a way to immediately shut off the engine if necessary.

Paul Cooley

Culver City

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Here's another flaw with Toyota's keyless ignition.

I have a 2007 Camry, and a few months ago I was at a restaurant in Granada Hills when my "smart key," as it is called, wouldn't work.

I initially thought the key's battery was dead. After getting a friend to drive me around to two dealerships and two stores, I discovered it wasn't the battery.

I then called AAA, whose tow-truck driver said this was the third such call at that location recently. He believes radio communications from a nearby police station result in a dead spot where I was parked. He towed me about 100 yards to a different location, and the key worked.

Obviously not a life-threatening situation, but annoying nonetheless. What was wrong with the old-fashioned key-in-the-ignition system?

Larry Stewart

Arcadia

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When I read this article, I was stunned. The part in which the family is talking to the police officer just before they died really touched me.

I could not believe a family lost their lives because of something preventable. This was not the first such crash.

Kristen Chakur

Valencia

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