Storm clouds have been forming for a long time.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today announced that it is opening a formal investigation of the Toyota Prius Hybrid model year 2010 to look into allegations of momentary loss of braking capability while traveling over an uneven road surface, pothole or bump.
Readers of TheDetroitBureau.com will not be surprised by the latest development, which we first reported back in December, (click here) along with Toyota’s initial statement that it was unaware of the problem, as Toyota engineers in Japan were preparing a computer programming fix that went into production late in January.
The Office of Defects Investigation has received 124 reports from consumers, including four reports alleging that crashes occurred. Investigators have spoken with consumers and conducted pre-investigatory fieldwork.
“Safety is our top priority,” said Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, who is in charge of NHTSA. “That is why in recent weeks NHTSA has also issued a consumer advisory on the recall of several models of Toyota vehicles and the Pontiac Vibe involving pedal entrapment and sticky accelerator pedals. We will continue to monitor these issues closely.”
Late Wednesday, Secretary LaHood spoke with Toyota president, Akio Toyoda, who reassured him that Toyota takes U.S. safety concerns seriously and puts safety at the top of the company’s priorities.
Toyota has repeatedly claimed that safety is its top priority, of course, but has been proven wrong about its previous statements asserting the causes of unintended acceleration. (more…)