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2010 Toyota Prius – Click above for high-res image gallery

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.

[Source: Washington Post, Toyota]
Show full PR text
Toyota Statement on Harrison, N.Y. Incident

"Toyota sympathizes with the individuals and families involved in any accident involving our vehicles. We are making an all-out effort to ensure our vehicles are safe and are making substantial progress towards completing our recalls with effective and durable solutions. We also remain committed to investigating reported incidents of unintended acceleration in our vehicles quickly, as in Harrison, New York, and we will continue to work in close partnership with law enforcement agencies and federal regulators with jurisdiction over accident scenes whenever requested.

"As always, it is important to remember that many of the complaints in the NHTSA database, for any manufacturer, lack sufficient detail that could help identify the cause of an accident or, in some cases, even the specific vehicle involved. Furthermore, instances of unintended acceleration can be caused by many factors and they are not all sudden or sustained. The category is very broad, affects all major automakers, and can include issues involving pedal entrapment, pedal misapplication, transmission surges and driver reaction to normal engine speed control variations when cruise control or air conditioning systems are in use."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      ...runaway Prius in NY caused by driver error.

      as about 99.9% of all other "runaway" Toyotas
      • 5 Years Ago
      who cares. the shareholders are already suing. it's a long way down, toyota.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is my shocked face: :-o
      • 5 Years Ago
      Do we know for sure that it was an elderly male driver ? Most incidents like this is caused by FEMALE driver error .
      • 5 Years Ago
      Prius owners: keep up the good work crashing your cars. Fewer Priuses on the road actually makes the world better, despite what you may believe.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, I agree. I am not sure why you are admitting to being a diehard of boring appliances on wheels though.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I couldn't believe it when I read the headline, common, this cant be true, it just cant!!!!!1!!111!1one
      • 5 Years Ago
      Driver error. Interesting.

      If it's not the Prius' fault, I could see the errors be explained thus:

      - "Gee officer, I thought I was braking profusely but the car kept accelerating! These darned new-fangled machines have brakes on the *left* now?!"

      - "Why, yes officer, I did think it was a good idea to use Krazy Glue to keep the accelerator on the floor for cruise control."

      - "No officer, I didn't think that it was a bad idea to use a length of pipe to keep the accelerator on the floor."

      - "But officer, you're *supposed* to keep physically fit by keeping a set of leg weights by the gas pedal! That way you can do leg lifts during the commute! Duh!"

      - "Officer, I was transporting bricks in my lap and a few of them must have fallen to the floor!"

      - "No officer, I didn't know it was a bad idea to do yoga while driving. I had to get my legs stretched somehow!"

      - "Of course it was accelerating unintended. Did you think I *meant* to keep my foot to the floor? I was panicking! My foot has a mind of its own!"

      - "I'm sorry officer, I thought it would be a good idea to wear my 4-foot-tall platform shoes while driving to the '70s reunion!"

      - "No sir, it wasn't my fault, and had nothing to do with the mastiff I let ride in my lap while driving!"

      - "Well officer, I know I'm only nine, but my best friend Billy was eight and since he could reach the pedals, I thought our ages added up would make us legal to drive and we wanted cookies from the store!"
      • 5 Years Ago
      Holy wow!! Stop the presses! This is breaking news!
      • 5 Years Ago
      The driver was female and, hot off the heels of Sikes' runaway Prius, decided to cash in on the runaway scam. She didn't have the nerve to leave a block away from her house.

      The stupid criminals are making the bigger criminal look good. Sadly, I am finding a rekindled love for Toyota coming on.

      Damn that new 4Runner, FJCruiser and Lexus LFA.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Next time you might want to apply your mental brakes good sir.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Apparently they found more evidence that Toyota has been hiding problems since 2002 with help from the NHTSA!!


        • 5 Years Ago
        @ JeremiahBWhite:
        He never said that the issue he mentioned was a "recall". He was trying to point out that there was an acknowledged issue pertaining to unintended acceleration. But, if you look at the TSB, it "seems to be" concerning a light-load surge, which is really just a fairly common driveability issue, and has nothing to do with "unintended acceleration".
        • 5 Years Ago
        At the end of the day, if you really look at these incidents objectively and leave the fan boy comments out, I will bet you a dollar that majority, as in 99.9% of these unintended accelerations are human errors. That is not to say that it didn't happen, rather, the majority is a misconception. All the news coverage is not helping the situation any.

        If all you hear is that Toyotas are running away on their own, even the most rational drivers may blame an incidental acceleration caused by operator error as a genuine case of car behaving badly.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Apparently Aaron you have no idea what your talking about and neither does CNN.

        Thats a "Service Bulletin." That means the car was not recalled, but fixed as needed. A little flash to the computer and the problem was resolved.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hopefully this is going to help stop those people that are taking this like a game''' making excuses because they mess up.

        I think there lots people out there working hard to find this prob. and we have idiots playing with this.

        those driver that are making errors are suppose to be penalize for lying. that way other people think about it before they go and do the same accusations.''
      • 5 Years Ago
      So maybe the good thing about ToyoGate is that Idiot Drivers are have been coming out of the woodwork to be identified as Idiot drivers?

      Or that Toyota has more idiots driving Toyotas than other makes?
        • 5 Years Ago
        No suprise. Idiots don't know how to drive so they buy Toyotas. End of story.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Do people even know how to drive anymore????
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