blog home Product Liability Toyota Responds to Runaway Prius Case, Contends No Safety Issue Found

Toyota Responds to Runaway Prius Case, Contends No Safety Issue Found

By Orlando Personal Injury Attorney on March 24, 2010

New reports from Toyota on a landmark “runaway Prius” case illustrate how tense relations are between the giant car company and some of its drivers who are reporting problems on the road.

Amid many claims of “sudden or unintended acceleration,” Toyota has issued a recall of over six million vehicles. They are investigating any causes of faulty acceleration in its product line including many different models such as the popular Toyota Camry and Toyota Avalon sedans as well as larger vehicles like the Toyota Tundra, Tacoma and RAV4. The Toyota Prius is subject to its own recall information with debate on safety issues regarding braking.

In a March 8 incident, a Prius driver claims his vehicle reached speeds of 94 miles per hour with the accelerator pedal artificially depressed, leaving him helpless to stop his car.

Now Toyota is saying they can’t see how that could have happened. Specifically, Toyota officials maintain that engine control systems would not have allowed acceleration with the brake pedal depressed “moderately or greater.” Sixty-one-year-old James Sikes—the driver of the allegedly out of control Prius—said he used the brake repeatedly, something which was supported by the vehicle’s event recording device.

Toyota also said the diagnostic computer in the Prius in question contained no “trouble codes.” Critics of Toyota have said the company’s event recording systems need to be clearer and more accessible to non-Toyota technicians.

The case of the runaway Toyota mirrors several other cases where Toyota technicians and researchers have not been able to “replicate” issues described by drivers. Toyota has been careful to say that just because they haven’t found the problem doesn’t mean that it does not exist; but in the case of James Sikes’s Prius, Toyota’s leadership appears circumspect, with Toyota officials saying their tests of braking and engine shutoff systems did not reveal any errors that would have caused the event that Sikes reported.

James Sikes has the reports of local police officers who were involved to help bear out at least part of his testimony about what happened on the road March 8. Other Toyota drivers may struggle to establish a case against a company that often contests the safety issues reported by its customers.

If you have experienced an injury due to a recalled or defective Toyota, call the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham. This Toyota auto accident attorney team can help owners of these vehicles get compensated if one of the mysterious issues related to the massive recall ends in injury or fatality. Call 888-425-2004 or use the web for a speedy response on your Toyota recall auto accident injury claim.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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