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Another Prius hoax? Not so fast! Results are in for the New York Prius incident.
Although the San Diego incident was largely speculated to be a hoax, the same cannot be said for the New York Prius incident involving unintended acceleration.
You see, the black box has spoken. The black box is essentially the vehicle's data recorder. And now, as the investigation has come to a close, the black box is screaming "driver error!"
A New York housekeeper allegedly accelerated into a stone wall across the street, on the same day she planned to take the Prius for a brake check. The alleged unintended acceleration in her Prius caused it some great damage. The woman claimed that the Prius accelerated on its own and she insisted that she repeatedly pressed the brakes.
Well, she must have been pressing the accelerator. At least that's what the black box is saying to investigators. The Prius investigation results indicate that she pressed the accelerator and never, in fact, pressed the brakes.
Investigators are calling the data "black and white."
Although the New York Prius incident was ruled out as driver error, the problem demonstrates the Pandora's box that has been opened in light of Toyota's problems. Many consumers are coming out of the woodwork to say that their Priuses have unintended acceleration problems. But how many of these cases are legitimate unintended acceleration?
We've already seen the effect of those who come out to claim spotlight in the midst of Toyota's troubles. Or so many Internet "Prius Hoax" speculators claim. But what of the effect of general consumer paranoia, where consumers are so scared of possible unintended acceleration problems that they, in essence, become "hypochondriacs," fearing that their Toyota accelerated out of control, despite the fact that they, themselves, may have been at fault behind the wheel?
Toyota is attempting to mitigate the damage caused by its product recalls, but it is an uphill battle for the automaker.