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Runaway Prius: hoax or not, the damage has been done
March 15, 2010. By Arnold Rapinan

Runaway Prius“Houston we have a problem!” was the first thought that came to mind when I saw the Runaway Prius news on March 8, 2010. The following day, another report on a runaway Prius in New York had surfaced online. “Oh shit” was my reaction to the second terrible news. My instinct had me Google what to do should my 2010 Prius accelerate out of control.  See video links below.

On my way home on March 9, I couldn’t help but mentally walk my self through the process of stopping the car should it decide to magically pass everyone up. I was thinking I would do the following steps: 1) switch the gear to neutral, 2) floor the break and keep it there, 3) turn the engine off, 4) press the SOS emergency button to talk to Toyota's emergency center, 5) turn the emergency lights on, 6) honk like there's no tomorrow, and 7) pray should the circumtances allow it. While driving home that day, I put the Prius on neutral and it worked: the car decelarated. It was tempting to try turning the engine off, but it would have not been a good idea on highway 101 during the commute time. Obviously, I'm concerned, and the following days, I've decided to temporary halt driving my family with the Prius. Today, my wife refuses to drive it, although she would ride in it as a passenger (go figure).

With Toyota’s preliminary results of its investigation to the runaway Prius, I don’t know what to make of it. Per Toyota, "the driver’s account of the event is inconsistent with their initial findings, and that there should be further examination of James Sikes (the driver) account of the events of March 8." Is this part of a cover up from Toyota's acceleration issue? Did James Sikes intentionally did it because he is after money or publicity? What about the runaway prius reported in New York? And how about Steve Wozniak's, Apple's co-founder, claimed that Toyota's problem is software (Steve claimed he can duplicate the acceleration issue with his 2010 Prius)? Are these all mistakes, shenanigans or misunderstanding? Unfortunately, whether this Prius acceleration issue is real, hoax or not, the damage has been done. Toyota’s current quality and public relation issues will remain to people’s mind.

Related links: videos on how to stop your car should it decide to magically accelerate

March 23, 2010 Update: Local police agree, runaway Prius in NY caused by driver error