Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported its initial findings on the runaway Prius case in New York. The NHTSA disclosed information regarding its belief that the 2005 Prius involved in the suspected runaway case resulting in a head on crash into a stone wall was not caused by a manufacturing error on Toyota's behalf, but rather a driver error resulting from not applying the brakes during the incident.
The follow-up investigation conducted by the local Harrison police department came to an identical conclusion. The police department was initially upset with the NHTSA investigation and believed that the agency had come to a conclusion too quickly. Upon conducting its own investigation, Harrison police believe that the overwhelming evidence appears to support the NHTSA findings that driver error was the cause of the crash. The findings point to an open throttle and lack of brake pedal application, causing the vehicle to accelerate and eventually crash. Toyota has released its statement regarding the Harrison, N.Y. incident, which can be read after the jump.
The findings of this investigation appear more conclusive than the one involving James Sikes and his runaway Prius in California, where the California Highway Patrol did not find enough evidence to agree with Toyota and NHTSA that the car could've been stopped.
For Toyota, this is one more image boost during trying times for the company. Aside from the Prius winning a J.D Power award a few days ago and a couple of other sparse good words, the automaker has faced nothing but struggles in the last two months.