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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Toyota Says Nothing Wrong with Prius

Last week, a California man described a harrowing ride after his Toyota Prius experienced spontaneous acceleration. Although there was no car accident caused, the possibility that Priora are also subject to unexplained acceleration could have severe repercussions. Because the Prius is not part of ongoing recalls related to mechanical sticking of the accelerator pedal, if the Prius turns out to be a defective vehicle, it could have extremely far-reaching consequences. Not only would the approximately one million Priora in the model years 2004 to 2008 be potentially subject to a car recall, but every new model implicated in unexplained acceleration events raises the possibility that Toyota's newest recall, like its earlier ones, does not fully encompass the problem.

Perhaps that is the reason why Toyota is so aggressively investigating the problem and publicly refuting the driver's claims. According to Toyota, the man's "account of the event is inconsistent with the findings of the preliminary analysis." Namely, Toyota claims:

The accelerator pedal was in working order and functioning normally

The brakes showed wear and damage from overheating

Computer records showed the brakes and accelerator had been applied in an on-and-off fashion

No diagnostic trouble codes in the computer

The shift lever and power button were functioning as they should

The brake override system, which shuts off the engine when the brakes are applied, even if the gas pedal is depressed, was working

Toyota's investigations were overseen by representatives from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). No one is claiming these results are final, and investigations are ongoing. Toyota has stopped short of accusing the man of fabricating the story, but has assembled the case for such an accusation. Instead, it is focusing on the message that the Prius is safe and not subject to the same defects as Camrys, Corollas, and others.

However, it should be noted that the initial reports of Camry's unexplained acceleration were met with a similar response.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident caused or worsened by a defective car, the product liability lawyers at The Cochran Firm can help. Please call or email us today for a free case evaluation.


posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 8:32 AM

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