Toyota came out swinging today against a San DIego, California driver who recently made national headlines when his 2008 Prius reportedly suffered a stuck accelerator while he was driving it on a highway. The auto manufacturer, smarting from a variety of bad press this year around issues with vehicles like the Prius, said it found that “there are strong indications that the driver’s account of the event is inconsistent with the findings of the preliminary analysis.”
Technicians sent by Toyota to examine the Prius owned by James Sikes, the car company said, “employed data download/analysis, static and dynamic testing as well as thorough inspections of all relative components. In addition, they retraced the reported driving route taking into account driving time and accounts from the 911 recording.” They reportedly found that, among other things, the accelerator pedal was working normally, the front brakes showed “severe wear and damage from overheating,” a carpeted floor mat was in place but not found to “be interfering or even touching the accelerator pedal,” no diagnostic trouble codes found in the power management computer and “evidence of numerous, rapidly repeated on-and- off applications of both the accelerator and the brake pedals.”
Toyota, which is still putting together a final report on this matter, added that NHTSA investigators were present during its examination of the Prius and that the company’s engineers “believe that it would be extremely difficult for the Prius to be driven at a continuous high speed with more than light brake-pedal pressure, and that the assertion that the vehicle could not be stopped with the brakes is fundamentally inconsistent with basic vehicle design and the investigation observations.”
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