• Mar 9, 2010
Runaway Prius in San Diego – Click above to watch the video after the jump

Both the second- and third-generation Prius are part of Toyota's massive recall – the former for floormat problems, the latter for braking issues – but a new incident from California has the automaker looking into more potential issues with the second-generation car.

As CNN tells it, Jim Sikes was driving his Prius on Interstate 8 in San Diego County when he pushed the gas pedal to pass a slow-moving car, but then, as Sikes says, "[the pedal] did something kind of funny ... it jumped and it just stuck there." Sikes called 911 for assistance, but a California Highway Patrol officer caught up to the car, and the officer used a loudspeaker to give Sikes instructions on how to safely stop the vehicle with the emergency brake. "As it was going, I was trying the brakes... it wasn't stopping," Sikes recounts. The highway patrol officer said that Sikes had reached speeds of over 90 miles per hour.

Neither Sikes or any other drivers were hurt during this alleged unintended acceleration incident. In a statement issued Monday night, Toyota says that it has dispatched a field technical specialist to investigate the case. Click through the jump to watch the CNN video and you can read more about it in Los Angeles Times link below. Thanks to everyone for the tips!

[Sources: CNN, Los Angeles Times]



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  • 170 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Unintended Acceleration" is going to surpass chicks crying as the best way to get out of a ticket...good to know.
      • 4 Years Ago
      So let me get this straight. All this went wrong at the same time suddenly?
      - Sudden acceleration
      - Push start button not working
      - Gear shifter won't go to neutral
      - Breaks are not enough to even slow down

      I hate toyota, but this just sounds like a load of media BS. And I think the american auto manufacturers are very happy with all the toyota crap going on.
        • 4 Years Ago
        So let's get this straight.

        Car starts accelerating.

        Before he can realize what's going on, transmission drops into a passing gear due to increased throttle, raising the RPM's instantly- to what, you can't be sure, but 5k RPM comes quick.

        At 5k RPM, the transmission is locked into drive- neutral lockout.

        Engine can't be shut off while vehicle is in drive.

        Transmission can't be pulled out of drive because of neutral lockout.

        He got lucky and was able to slow the vehicle down enough to be able to get the tranny into neutral (below 5k RPM).

        Nothing here failed except for whatever caused the vehicle to accelerate, whether it be the pedal or the ECU or something else electronic- everything else did it's job with flying colors... It just didn't help the situation.
        • 4 Years Ago
        For like the 100th time in this thread Mr. Clickerson... The Prius can be shifted to Neutral at WOT

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=II_03lbr-Jw
      • 4 Years Ago
      lol, is there any reason the ignition can't just be turned off on these supposed runaway cars? Who the hell plows themselves and their family into oncoming traffic instead of just turning the car off. Perhaps people this stupid deserve to meet such a fate?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah I think it has to be held down for a certain amount of time in order to shut it off, that could be a loooong time when your accelerating unintentionally
        bobby1234
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yea but knowing the IQ of most prius drivers....he would probably turn it off as he gooes around a sharp turn. Then will notice it was a horrible idea since he now has no power steering. Then will start to panic and stress out, so now he needs a cig. Lights up the cig just in time too as his prius jumps off a cliff.

        Then again....I may have been a little dramatic there.
        • 4 Years Ago
        -It was a RENTAL Lexus
        -It had aftermarket carpet/floor mats
        -Brakes didn't work... once again it was a RENTAL... probably didn't get service and had bad brakes. They didn't do enough investigation before Toyota apologizes. People are utilizing and exploiting Toyota for everything else that has gone wrong. Given that there are recalls on the their vehicle.

        Toyota is not the best nor are they the worst.

        I'm not a Toyota fan, but I don't hate it either. Just wish people looked into this before ranting BS like the media is. Its not the end of the world folks.
        • 4 Years Ago
        To all you claiming you'd know what you would do... Seriously? Have you ever been in a situation like that? I think not. If you have, you would not be making "advice".

        For the record, the transmissions in those vehicles have a valve that will not allow the shift lever mechanism to be cycled until governor pressure is zero or close to zero. Also, the transmission is a constant-variable unit. There are no gears. You cannot downshift a car that does not shift.

        Next, 2008 models have a smart-key system. They have a power button on the dash. As of right now, the only way to force a shutdown is to hold the power button for 5 seconds. Most owners are not aware this. To be honest, most dealers are not aware of that feature.

        Yes, Toyota has an issue with their cars. This situation is a bad mixture of corporate cover-up, dealer negligence, and a little bit of owner stupidity. There are lots of owners who have never read their manuals or even opened them.

        Also for the record, I am a master certified technician for a luxury car company. It is not Lexus. While I think the problem lies with Toyota not acknowledging their culpability, there is plenty of blame all around. People that spout off how they would do something else in that situation are no helping. Just because you can downshift or turn the key off in your car, that does not mean all other cars work like yours. Please refrain from telling the world you would do better in that situation if you have no idea how things work.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Easy for you to say. Stupid people sometimes crash into innocent people minding their own business. I'd rather car companies make cars that don't accelerate on their own, that's a lot easier to control then making sure stupid people don't do stupid things.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Also, the transmission is a constant-variable unit. There are no gears. You cannot downshift a car that does not shift."

        Yes, you can. Most cars with CVTs have pre-programmed "gears" that let drivers toggle up and down through five or six artificial axle ratios. The Prius' CVT lets you shift into a "B" setting, for "engine braking."

        I assume you already know this, but it's also worth mentioning that CVT-equipped cars have a "PRNDL" gate just like any conventional automatic (they still have to park and go backwards, of course). Shifting a CVT into "Neutral" takes no particular knowledge.
        • 4 Years Ago
        because there push start.... this smells a little fishy tho but we'll see
      • 4 Years Ago
      I hate Toyotas. They make me sick to my stomach. But this guy is lying. He is looking for attention, and there was no easier way to get it. You can tell by his mannerisms that he is lying. I think Toyota is getting everything it deserves for pumping their crap into our country for so long, but this story is BS.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Juries are obsolete now that you're around.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Huh? Why not just slip it into neutral?
      • 4 Years Ago
      The American media is pathetic! This is a blatant set up to rile up more negative press for Toyota! So ever since Toyota announced their recalls all Toyota cars have suddenly gone crazy? This is just like the ABC news stunt with the technician who rigged up their Camry intentionally for unintended Acceleration. Don't listen to this Bulls*it!
      • 4 Years Ago
      You should come out and see the West some time. It's a lot different than New England is.
      • 4 Years Ago
      In the world today there is something called "Common Sense" that is missing.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Reaching down to physically pull up on the accelerator? This guy is going down a freeway at maybe upwards of over 70~90 mph, and he's reaching down to pull the pedal up with his right hand? He's not even a slim jim, but more of a portly guy.

      I'm disturbed that he refers to his ordeal as a 'game', if you notice in the interview.

      Then he says that he was standing on the brake pedal, which seems implausible to me, having driven hundreds of miles in that second generation model.

      And is it really possible that during those 20 minutes he was driving without the CHP there, he wasn't able to find a straight section on I-8, to stop his engine?

      I guess we'll just have to wait for this to play out in the media...the root of all truth. LOL.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Yaroukh

        Dude, you're flying down the freeway at 90 mph, concerned about finding a straightaway to stop your engine...

        but have no issues with reaching down below your foot to pull up on the pedal?

        Maybe I'm more talented than the average person, but I can use my foot to reach under the accelerator pedal to see if it'll pull up.

        If I was this guy, the first thought would be to try the cruise controls to lower the speed without having to step on the brake.
        • 4 Years Ago
        OMG why are you so obsessed with reaching down when going 90mph? That's no big deal. (I have done this stupid thing couple of times too.)
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Yaroukh... I can understand reaching down to the floor and picking something up @ 90 MPH, but we're talking about reaching all the way down to the pedal which is a rather long distance to go and would most likely require that he have his head completely below the windshield. I'm sorry, but I'm not buying it. For someone who can't figure out how to put his car into neutral, being able to maintain control of his car @90 MPH while he disappears below the windshield/dash to mess with the pedal is not very feasible.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Yaroukh

        And you probably text with both hands while drinking your coffee and reading the newspaper at 90mph, too, huh?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Don't quit your day job dude...if you have one.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I start to believe that america just wants to kill toyota. Maybe the storys aren't true. I mean, why doesnt this happen in Europe?
      I do not believe that the car doesnt stop if you press the brake pedal.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Same here in Australia, we haven't heard any news at all about unintended acceleration as well.
        • 4 Years Ago
        EXACTLY! You aren't hearing stories out of Europe or Japan about Toyota's flying out of control...
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think it's hilarious that people are all ready to believe American drivers are such big idiots that they can't figure out how to find neutral or off while moving -- until it would hurt Toyota if they knew how but pretended not to. Then it's all a big conspiracy (by Vette owners!) to hurt Toyota.

      Sounds like the return spring broke. It happens from time to time, it's just making the news here since it's a Toyota.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "I think it's hilarious that people are all ready to believe American drivers are such big idiots that they can't figure out how to find neutral or off while moving"

        Probably because more American drivers know how to text and Tweet while driving than know the meaning of the "N" that's next to that big stick that's sprouting out of the floor between the seats in their car.
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