Another Out-Of-Control Prius Reported, This Time in NY

Yesterday, we wrote that the California Highway Patrol rescued the driver of an out-of-control 2008 Toyota Prius after his vehicle accelerated suddenly. The car reached speeds as high as 94 mph, according to a report on ABC News. Now, the Associated Press (AP) is saying a 2005 Prius was the culprit in another Toyota sudden acceleration accident in Harrison, New York.

The AP said that the female driver, 56, hit a stone wall after her car accelerated wildly as she was pulling out of her driveway. Although no serious injures were sustained, there was considerable damage, added the AP. Police Chief Anthony Marraccini told WNBC that boulders were decimated and the accident could have been “devastating” if the car shot into oncoming traffic, reported the AP.

Since last fall, Toyota has recalled six million vehicles in the U.S. for problems involving sudden acceleration. The recalls started in September, when Toyota announced it was recalling and replacing floor mats on approximately 4.2 million vehicles which were allegedly causing accelerator pedals in the vehicles to become stuck in the depressed position, leading to uncontrollable and rapid acceleration of the vehicle. On January 21, Toyota recalled 2.3 million vehicles due to accelerator pedals on those vehicles becoming stuck in a depressed position, causing unexpected and unsafe acceleration.

The AP pointed out that news of the New York accident followed news that investigators were readying to examine the Prius involved in the California accident; Toyota was also seeking an interview with the driver involved in that accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Toyota Motor Corporation are also investigating the incident in California.

Initial police reports ruled out the driver’s floor mat as the culprit in the New York accident. The mat was secured to the seat base with plastic ties, which might or might not have been a corrective action in response to the recall, said the AP.
Meanwhile, said the AP, the California accident immediately followed an invitation by the beleaguered automotive giant to listen to experts discussing that the “electronic flaws” would not result in out-of-control situations.

The 2008 Prius detailed in the ABC News report was included in the floor mat recall.
But its driver maintains there was nothing wrong with his floor mats, telling ABC
News that he had received a recall notice—for what he did not specify—but when he took his vehicle to his dealer, he was told his Prius was not on the recall list.
The driver said he noticed his Prius seemed to be accelerating on its own while he was driving on a California interstate. He tried to bring it under control himself, but called 911 on his cell phone when the vehicle began traveling faster than 90 mph.

Twenty miles after the incident began, a California Highway Patrol car pulled alongside the Prius and began giving Sikes instructions over his public address system to use his brakes and his emergency brake to slow the car down, ABC News said. The car finally slowed to 55 mph, and Sikes was—after several attempts—able to turn it off via the ignition button.

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