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.