Black box data in New York and Japan shows that crashing Prius drivers had their feet on the wrong pedals and wrongly blamed their cars.
In Harrison, NY, the NHTSA declared that the cause of the Prius incident was driver error. “Computer data from a Toyota Prius that crashed in suburban New York City show that at the time of the accident the throttle was open and the driver was not applying the brakes,” U.S. safety officials said to Associated Press.
NHTSA said information from the car’s computer systems indicates there was no application of the brakes and the throttle was fully open. The NHTSA “did not elaborate,” says AP, but the conclusions are clear: Someone’s foot was on the gas instead on the brakes.
The local Journal News learned that the disclosure did not please Harrison’s acting police chief Capt. Anthony Marraccini, who felt that the Feds are treading on his turf: “It’s disturbing to me that any information was released without the consultation of the Harrison Police Department,” Marraccini said. “We have done everything to protect the integrity of the investigation and Toyota.”
He said his probe was not over and driver error had not been established. He also complained that Toyota wouldn’t give him the tools to read the black box of the Prius.
“You can’t open it, you can’t read it, you can’t do anything with it,” Marraccini said, referring to the recorder.
Meanwhile in Japan, police of the Chiba prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, recommends that criminal charges are brought against a driver who claimed a brake failure had caused his Toyota Prius to crash into another car in the town of Matsudo. Two people aboard that car were slightly injured in the accident.
Again, data from the event recorder in the Prius showed that the brakes were working properly, Japanese police said today.
According to today’s Nikkei, “the accident in Matsudo led the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to instruct Toyota to conduct checks on the Prius’ brake system. Later, Toyota announced a recall to address a glitch in the Prius’ antilock brake system, which causes a momentary lag in brake function when driving slowly on bumpy or slippery roads.”