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DATE News (chronologically)
03/19/10
automotive
Feds blame N.Y. Prius accident on human error  Ed Note: Sure, Toyota had a big "oops!" with their various pedal problems. However, how come we need to be the ones to say that this should not be some kind of panic situation at all? Has it ever occurred to anyone that you can simply turn off the key and hit the frikking brake? Really. Or, just hit the brake. It's not like the Prius exactly has a powerful engine anyway. The brakes will overpower the engine in most cars. If its the brakes that are a problem, that is what the emergency brake is for after all. Though it is a problem for Toyota, the hysteria is really the product of sadly inept drivers we put on the road, in the interest of selling a lot of cars.

Federal investigators say last week's highly publicized accident involving a suspected runaway Toyota Prius in New York was caused by human error, not bad brakes.

"Information retrieved from the vehicle's onboard computer systems indicated there was no application of the brakes and the throttle was fully open," NHTSA said Thursday in a statement about a Harrison, N.Y., crash.

NHTSA officials said the findings mean the accident was caused by the driver.

Toyota sent six investigators and the NHTSA sent two investigators to look at the vehicle, driven by a housekeeper, that crashed into a stone wall in the New York City suburb March 9.

The housekeeper had blamed the incident on the vehicle, saying it wouldn't stop.

Toyota's separate investigation into a March 8 incident, in which a 61-year-old man said his 2008 Prius reached speeds of more than 90 miles an hour on its own on a San Diego freeway, has found no evidence to back up the claim. The investigation showed the brakes and accelerator had been applied more than 250 times.

Toyota, meanwhile, is more aggressively defending itself, following the recall of more than 8.5 million vehicles worldwide over sudden acceleration concerns.

The automaker has demanded a retraction and public apology from ABC News over a Feb. 22 story that the automaker says used a "fabricated" shot.

ABC acknowledged it used video showing a surging tachometer that was similar to the video shot during an actual test drive.

ABC News lawyer John Zuckersaid in a response to Toyota that its tachometer video did not "materially mislead the public," although the network has acknowledged an "editorial error." Detroit News

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