by Pete Bigelow
Carrie Carvalho’s automotive nightmare began October 10, 2010.
That day, the brakes on her 2005 Honda Pilot malfunctioned. The car was going 45 miles per hour when it came to a screeching halt in the middle of Route 2 in suburban Boston. Traffic swerved to avoid the car.
Rattled, she and two companions in the vehicle continued driving. A few minutes later, she says the brakes spontaneously applied again, causing the car to veer to the right and stop.
That was the start of her two-and-a-half year fight to force lawmakers and a major car company to pay attention to a frightening problem, a fight that ended only last month. Along the way, she helped demonstrate how consumers can navigate a complicated path and stand up for their own car safety.