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Accelerating Toyota Prius Incident in New York May Be Driver Error [Video]

Officials investigating the March 9 crash of a 2005 Toyota Prius in Harrison, New York, could rule that "driver error" was the cause of the car's sudden acceleration.  Investigators for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration examined data from the Prius' black box, and found no evidence that the brakes were applied before it crashed into a wall.

Data also showed that the throttle was "wide open," leading analysts to believe that the 56-year-old woman driving the car may have hit the gas instead of the brakes.  Witnesses say the woman launched out of her driveway, onto and through a busy streed, then into a stone wall.  She suffered a knee injury in the crash.

Since the end of 2009, Toyota issued recalls on eight million vehicles worldwide because of either sticking accelerators or floor mats that held the gas pedal down.  Police investigating the New York crash said that the floor mats were not a factor in their case.

Still, the area's Acting Chief Anthony Marraccini did not want to jump to conclusions just yet.  "It is absolutely premature to make any conclusive determination regarding this investigation, and it's important to keep in mind that some of the data obtained is simply an instantaneous snapshot of the event and not a streaming video," he told Reuters.

The Harrison, New York, Prius happened on the same date that James Sikes called Southern California police to aid in slowing down his own out-of-control Prius.  Sikes, 61, says his car would not slow down, and would not stop accelerating, leading to a dramatic rescue where a police officer used his own vehicle to get the Prius to stop.

In recent times, Sikes' story of the car continuing to accelerate while he slammed on the brakes has been rumored to be a hoax.  While investigators have not been able to replicate the problem in his car, they do say that his car's brake pads and rotors were practically non-existent.

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Comments (4)

 Razz Razz
Otakki here has a point : - how come no toyota from the outside of USA had any problem with the braking/acceleration ? About the drivers .. now, every Toyota owner from the US will hit it to a wall and then file a process because of the breaking problem. Guys .. use the break before you crash !!
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March 19, 2010 5:38 pm
 EDavis EDavis
When I was a mechanic we'd occasionally get a customer complaining about some sort of drivability issue that we couldn't duplicate when we test drove their car. They'd always say, "It does it for me all the time." So, we'd send 'em out the door with a recording device equipped with a button that when pressed would record the status of all sensors on the vehicle for about 30 seconds before and 30 seconds after the pressing of the button. We always knew they were full of shit after we examined the printout. So we'd do nothing to car, tell them that we fixed it, charge them for the "repair" and then send them on their merry way. They never returned.
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March 19, 2010 5:38 pm
 otakki otakki
More hoax like this will continue to show up thanks to the media in a country with 50% of the entire world's lawyers. Of course, Toyota problems only occur in the US; no problem for the rest of the world. That means it is driver problem.
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March 19, 2010 4:31 pm
 9TNine 9TNine
Well, of course...! Every runaway Toyota will be driver error according to Toyota! What else would it be?
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March 19, 2010 1:34 pm