"Runaway" Prius Driver in NY Did Not Use Brakes

Posted: Mar 22, 2010 10:17 a.m.

Toyota might be starting to feel like it's getting its momentum back.

The Wall Street Journal reports, "An investigation of a Toyota Prius accident in Harrison, N.Y., suggests driver error may have been involved after federal safety regulators said the brakes hadn't been applied and the throttle was 'wide open.'"

The report comes after investigators couldn't confirm the story of a California man who claimed his Prius took him on an unintended 90-mile-per-hour tour of a California highway, requiring the help of the California highway patrol to stop the car. The report of the New York Prius accelerating out of control came just a day later.

The Washington Post reports, "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that the vehicle's on-board computer records show that the brakes were never applied and the throttle was wide open at the time of the crash." They add, "In other words, the driver -- for whatever reason -- sped directly into the stone wall without braking."

The driver had claimed that she was pressing the brake the entire time.

Left Lane News says, "While it’s impossible to say if this type of situation is occurring in all of the recent reports of runaway Toyotas, it seems highly likely that driver error is to blame in at least a portion of the complaints. Toyota and the NHTSA will continue to investigate claims of unintended acceleration, but it remains to be seen if any electronic gremlins will ever be found."

Check out the latest Toyota recall news and information, including how the company's recent troubles affect our rankings. If you're in the market for a new car, check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars as well as this month's best car deals.