Quote Of The Day: I Break For Bar Exams
“Leading San Francisco product liability attorney, Mary Alexander states if you or a loved one has been injured or killed due to stuck accelerator pedals, break issues, or steering problems prompted by a defective Toyota vehicle, you may have a product liability claim that would entitle you to compensation for your injuries and damages.”
The Empire Strikes Back: NHTSA Says Harrison Crash Was Driver Error, Japanese Police Recommends Charges Against Prius Driver
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.
Harrison Police Chief: Pilot Error Possible In Prius Case
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.
Toyota Investigation Hits A Wall
All eyes are on Harrison, NY, today. Technicians from Toyota and NHTSA will head to the NYC burbs and pour over a 2005 Toyota Prius that crashed into a stone wall in the tony bedroom town of Harrison. Its driver claimed the hybrid had sped up on its own. Toyota will read out the data recorded in the Prius computer. According to the Associated Press, Toyota techs will “use equipment to determine how many times the driver hit the brakes and gas. It used the same tools earlier this week to cast doubt on a California driver who claimed his Prius sped to 94 mph before a patrol officer helped him stop it.”
The Sikes Aftermath: Lead Balloon Boy Going Down
A few days ago, James Sikes and his runaway Prius was all over news. Until we mentioned that something is fishy. Sikes’ driving skills were put in question. Stories about a wife swapping website emerged. Stories about bankruptcy. Stories about an unpaid lease on the Prius. And sundry other stories. Quickly, Sikes turned into Balloon Boy 2.0
Michael Fumento, director of the Independent Journalism Project, went on Neil Cavuto’s show on Fox Business and said: “It appears that everybody on planet earth suspected that there was something horribly wrong with this picture – except for the national media. The real hoax wasn’t James Sikes, it was in fact our press.”
FOX: Is Sikes A Balloon Boy?
Two days ago, Ed Niedermeyer received a tip from an anonymous tipster that James Sikes, the guy who couldn’t stop his runaway Prius until a cop pulled up next to him and told him to, is, well, a bit exposed.
The tipster pointed out that a James Sikes had also started a business called Adultswinglife, LLC. A look at the phone numbers showed that Adult Swing Life LLC (619) 957-7355 shared the same phone number as the real estate business of Patty & Jim Sikes (619)-957-7355. We left it at that. Times are rough, and one needs to find extra streams of income.
A few hours later, an anonymous poster that went by the name “CincyJazzy” posted on the CBS news website that Sikes “is caught in 2 attempts to defraud his insurance company out of $60K, Just lost his house, and was fired for ‘unethical behavior’, in the middle of bankruptcy, and now this.” No reaction from CBS.
Then, nothing. Until ...
You Can Kill Your Wife - As Long As You Do It In A Prius
On September 19, 2008, William Hippsley, 74, was behind the wheel in the parking lot of a shopping center in Brigg, South Humberside, UK. Outside, his wife Brenda, 69, helped him park his car. Suddenly, Hippsley’s car shot forward, dragged his wife 130ft across the parking lot – and killed her.
The car was a Toyota Prius.
The Jim Sikes 911 Call: 23 Minutes Of Unintended Acceleration
View more news videos at: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/video.
Draw your own conclusions. [ABC San Diego via Jalopnik]
BS Alert 2! Steve Wozniak (And The Media) Still Spreading Prius UA Obfuscation
One of my pet gripes about the media and celebrities is the lack of follow-up and accountability. Remember all the hoopla about Steve Wozniak’s Prius with the mysterious electronics glitch that he could manipulate to create UA? My take was that obviously his cruise control had a minor bug that only showed up at over eighty mph. Woz readily admitted that he could disengage it with a tap on the brakes. Well, thanks to his celebrity status and the coverage, the story ended with Toyota agreeing to take his Prius for a week to test it thoroughly. So what happened?
What's Wrong With This Picture: Lexus And The Weary Sai Edition
Outrage! NHTSA, Republicans And Gore Family Revealed As Closet Prius Drivers
Everybody promised this would not be a repeat of the Japan bashing of the 80s. But when the DetN starts outing lawmakers and administrators in DC for driving Toyotas, then it’s open season. Let them dawgs out …
“The vaunted Toyota Prius is everywhere in Washington,” reports the breathless Detroit News after exhaustive traffic analysis.
Curbside Classic Outtake: Aerodynamics Then And Now
This 1965 Falcon Futura first caught my eye, not the Prius. But seeing them jowl-to-cheek gave me a dramatic lesson in how far car aerodynamics have come. Well, at least in common everyday cars. The Tatra T77 of 1934 still has this Prius’ Cd of .25 handily beat. The Falcon? Who knows; probably around .50 or so. But this semi-fastback roof on the Falcon was the hot new thing when it came out on the 1963.5 Fords, specifically to help the big Galaxie on the high speed NASCAR tracks.
Toyota Refuses Eco-Award For Prius
Every year, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry hands out prizes for products it regards as the pinnacle of energy-efficiency and eco-friendliness. This year, Toyota’s Prius was chosen as the recipient of the grand prize.
Last Monday, Toyota said “enryo shimasu” (no thanks) to the Ministry, and refused to accept the governmental honors, an industry ministry official disclosed today to the Nikkei [sub].
Anticlimactic Post Of The Day: Toyota Recalls, Freezes Sales Of Prius, Sai, Lexus Hybrids
It’s the software, stupid. At a press conference at 3:30 pm Japanese time, Toyota came clean and announced that it will recall 223,068 hybrid vehicles in Japan, including its latest Prius model and three other models–the Sai, the Lexus HS250h and the Prius Plug-In Hybrid, says the Nikkei [sub]. They will get a re-flash of the brake software. Worldwide recalls of affected models will follow. This ends – for now – weeks of waffling over the latest in a series of Toyota problems.
The recall will start Wednesday. A total of 199,666 Prius vehicles manufactured between April 20, 2009 and Jan. 27 of this year will receive new ABS software.
Toyota Recalls: (Un)intended Ambiguity?
Readers of the Nikkei [sub] were greeted this morning with the purported news that by the end of this month, Toyota “is expected” to recall its Sai and Lexus HS250h hybrids, which use the same braking system as the Prius hybrid. Furthermore, “the company is believed to have decided” to recall the current Prius, “and is expected” to notify the Transport Ministry of the plan early this week.