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Government in Search of Cause for Runaway 2008 Toyota Prius

By Kelly Balamuth on March 18, 2010

A story in the San Francisco Chronicle recently discussed the federal government’s inability to explain an incident of sudden acceleration involving a 2008 Toyota Prius in San Diego, California. According to the article, the high-speed incident occurred on March 8, 2010, and involved a Toyota Prius which accelerated to over 90mph on the freeway. Fortunately, a California Highway Patrol officer was able to guide the driver to a stop after the motorist applied both the brakes and the emergency brake.

Based on the article, after spending two hours trying to mimic the acceleration that occurred in the San Diego incident, inspectors were unsuccessful in doing so. However, the attorney for the man involved in the incident stated that Toyota has “never been able to replicate an incident of sudden acceleration.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) declared that its engineers are still conducting investigations and are reviewing data from the owner of the Prius to more accurately determine what exactly happened. However, it is likely that officials may not be able to reach a concise conclusion as to what actually occurred, especially as the origin of gas pedal problems in recalled Toyota vehicles seems to still be a major issue of debate and concern. Outside experts and critics believe that problems associated with recalled Toyota vehicle models may go beyond mechanical issues, and may instead be associated with electronic flaws of some kind.

While NHTSA continues to examine claims from over 60 Toyota owners who have experienced unintended acceleration even after receiving repairs for their vehicles, Toyota is expected to soon to announce their preliminary findings of the recent San Diego throttle problem and sudden acceleration incident. It is speculated that Toyota will take the stance that the backup safety system in the Prius worked properly during the San Diego incident.

Also worthy of note, the 2008 Prius was included in Toyota’s defective floor mat recall, but not in the automaker’s recall of vehicle models with accelerators that could become stuck in a depressed position.
As consumers, we trust that the vehicles we purchase are safe and free from any defect or flaw that may cause an accident to take place and potentially inflict injury or wrongful death. If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto crash in Northern California that you believe may have been caused by an auto design defect, a manufacturer or seller’s failure to warn, or a manufacturing defect, the skilled Northern California defective product lawyers at the Law Office of Balamuth Harrington, LLP may be able to help you hold negligent manufacturer’s liable. Call 888-254-1234 or visit https://www.balamuth.com/ to learn more about your legal rights and options.


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