REAL DEAL AUTO BLOG

Harrison Police Chief: Pilot Error Possible In Prius Case

Posted in Uncategorized by wolferadio11 on March 18, 2010

By Bertel Schmitt on March 18, 2010 (reposted from www.thetruthaboutcars.com)

Last week, Harrison Police Capt. Anthony Marraccini said he had no indication of driver error, after a 56 year old house keeper had driven her employer’s Prius into a wall. Wall and car were totaled. Airbags deployed, housekeeper was unharmed.  Now, Marracini isn’t so sure anymore.

Yesterday, six Toyota technicians and two NHTSA inspectors descended on Harrison, NY, to inspect the Prius, which had been kept in a Harrison police impound. According to CNN, “two independent inspectors from a forensic technology company, hired by the Police Department, also were aiding the investigation.” There was no shortage of experts. Presence of congressional aides was not reported.

Toyota successfully downloaded data from the vehicle. After receiving their findings (which have not been made public), Capt. Anthony Marraccini said driver error “was a possibility,” the New York Post reports. According to the paper, “the police chief overseeing the investigation of a supposed runaway Prius reversed himself yesterday, saying human error may have caused the vehicle to crash into a stone wall.”

“The driver says the accelerator stuck,” reported NBC yesterday.

Without saying it out loud, Toyota intimates that all the housekeeper should have done is push the brakes.

Careful not to insult the customer, Toyota Motor Sales spokesman Wade Hoyt said: “in all of our hybrids, when you step on the brake pedal the engine automatically returns to idle, even if the accelerator pedal would be nailed to the floor.”

What about unintended acceleration? No data so far. But the New York Post headlines its report “Doubts accelerate over 2nd runaway-Prius story.”

Cue comments about single event upsets, tin whiskers, and Toyota mucking with the data. With the NHTSA, two independent inspectors, and an embarrassed police chief watching, it would take a lot of guts to pull a fast one.

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