NOT SAFE AT ANY SPEED: The Out-Of-Control Prius


NEW YORK TIMES: Two drivers of Toyota Priuses reported that their cars had sped out of control, one of them ending in a crash. Toyota already has said it was recalling the popular hybrid car for the 2004 to 2009 model years, but only to fix a problem in which the carmaker says a floor mat could trap the accelerator pedal. In a separate recall, Toyota is modifying accelerator pedals it says could stick in 4.5 million vehicles. But a man whose 2008 Prius raced along 30 miles of Interstate in California at up to 94 miles an hour before the police helped him stop it has insisted that the floor mat was not interfering. Also, the police who responded to a crash Tuesday morning of a 2005 Prius into a stone wall in Harrison, N.Y., said the floor mat had been tied to the seat frame, presumably by a dealer. “We can rule out the mats,” Harrison’s acting police chief, Anthony Marraccini, said. “She probably traveled, accelerating, for over 100 feet, maybe even more than that. The collision hurled a couple of large boulders at least 10 feet away from the scene.” MORE

LOS ANGELES TIMES: James Sikes bought his Toyota Prius in 2008, and 53,000 miles later the car was driving fine. But on Monday afternoon, when he accelerated to pass another vehicle on Interstate 8 east of San Diego, the car kept going. “The gas pedal stuck open all the way,” said Sikes, 61, a real estate agent from San Diego. For 30 miles, Sikes said, he swerved in and out of traffic, narrowly missing a big rig and trying desperately to slow the vehicle down, at one point reaching down with his hand to pull back on the gas pedal. The brakes were useless. MORE

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: Police and driving experts interviewed Tuesday said the best hope for the driver of a runaway car is to brake firmly, use the emergency brake and shift into a lower gear or neutral – although they cautioned that, depending on the circumstances and the model, there’s no guarantee doing all that will work. One expert, John Schembra of Concord, who teaches emergency driving to police around the state, said that if braking doesn’t slow down the car, turning off the ignition might be the safest tactic – so long as you’re traveling on a straight road and the car hasn’t yet hit high speeds. MORE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *