Wednesday, August 11, 2010

If No Defect in Toyotas, Was It a Conspiracy?

James Sikes

James Sikes at a press conference about the alleged runaway acceleration incident.The 61-year-old San Diego-based real estate executive, made international headlines when he claimed that his 2008 Toyota Prius sped out of control on California�"s Interstate 8.

Five months after the nation was gripped with fears about Prius brakes failing to engage and runaway hybrids flying out of control, federal investigators said Tuesday that driver error�not electronics�is to blame in a majority of safety cases they probed.

The preliminary findings were presented at a briefing of House Energy and Commerce Committee members, conducted by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration�"s David Strickland.

Representatives of the NHTSA told members of Congress that brakes were simply not applied in 35 of the 58 cases they reviewed. The findings are based on black box data taken from vehicles.

Toyota said its own findings show that after "more than 4,000 on-site vehicle inspections, in no case have we found electronic throttle controls to be a cause of unintended acceleration." Toyota has recalled more than 8.5 million vehicles worldwide, including 6 million in the United States, for sudden acceleration issues.

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