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Runaway Prius in New York: Unintended Acceleration

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on March 11, 2010 9:10 AM

After Tuesday's highly publicized runaway Prius in San Diego, who knew we'd see another related incident so soon?

This time, it's in New York.

In San Diego, California Highway Patrol officers were needed to slow down a runaway Prius on the Interstate.

Tuesday's runaway Prius incident was allegedly caused by the same unintended acceleration problem that's been plaguing the auto-maker and was the subject of several recalls as well as a major Congressional hearing. Subsequent to the San Diego car chase, the frightened driver spoke at a press conference in front of a Toyota dealership. 

The New York incident, unlike the San Diego incident, did not happen on a highway or other major public road. It occurred in a residential area, in a driveway. According to the driver, her gas pedal became stuck. As a result, the 56-year old housekeeper crashed the 2005 Prius into a stone wall, sustaining no injuries to herself but severe damage to the vehicle. 

The car crash occurred in Harrison, which is an affluent area just north of New York City. The Department of Transportation is investigating the New York Prius incident as well as the San Diego incident. 

Both runaway Priuses involved, the San Diego Prius and the New York Prius, are being investigated by authorities, to determine whether a product defect was, in fact, the reason for the unintended acceleration. 

The Prius was not part of the current recall, although Toyota had expressed concern about the possibility of unintended acceleration and had urged drivers to remove the floor mats (some Prius models were included in the floor mat recall). 

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