However, his account of the events has not been confirmed yet. Indeed, Toyota and the NTHSA have said that the facts appear to be leaning against his story, as the vehicle apparently cannot do what Sikes states occurred during the incident.
Before releasing official findings, Toyota and the NHTSA have decided to tear down the 2008 Prius in question and test all system to determine if anything is faulty and could have led to the ordeal.
Toyota questions the truthfulness of Sike's story and has publicly noted that the Prius, if operating correctly, has a brake override system in place that prevents engine rpm from increasing when the brake is applied.
Loveday's account does NOT mention what the California Highway Patrol stated:
The Reuters account of the Highway Patrol report suggested the report strongly supported the driver's discussion of the incident. Titled California police report supports Prius driver , the Reuters story includes text:
A California Highway Patrol report released on Wednesday in a sensational "runaway" Toyota Prius incident appears to support the version of events given by the driver, which the automaker has called into question.
The written account by a CHP officer who raced to the aid of James Sikes after his emergency call on March 8 says that the 61-year-old realtor appeared to be stomping heavily on the brake pedal while speeding at 85 to 90 miles per hour on a freeway near San Diego.
Toyota has said it found no evidence that Sikes had been applying the brakes forcefully and that by doing so he should have been able to stop his blue 2008 Prius.
California Highway Patrol to weigh in on Sikes' Prius story ]
**Separately, of the NHTSA:
However, the NHTSA had said: "We observed there was very little left of the car's brakes."
Further, the inboard front brake pads were completely gone and the outboard pads were down to about two millimeters to 2.5 millimeters, the NHTSA said, and the rotors were damaged. IPBiz queries: what can be inferred of a "wear pattern" when the inboard brake pads are completely gone?
NHTSA said it so far has not found a cause of Sikes' incident.
Of the possibility of an electronic explanation, see the article Toyota’s Acceleration Issue Due to Electronics, Experts Say, which includes:
On March 8 James Sikes’s Prius accelerated to 90 miles per hour and could not be stopped on a San Diego freeway by application of the brakes. Unable to replicate the problem, Toyota said that Sikes’s account has little merit. (...)
Toyota has steadfastly ruled out the electronic system faults as the cause of sudden acceleration. (...)
“[Toyota claims] that because they can find no defect after a sudden acceleration incident that the sudden acceleration could not have been caused by a design fault,” said Armstrong. But he says the argument that “an absence of a detectable fault proves absence of a design effect” uses false logic. Most electronic faults don’t leave any evidence, “Especially after the ignition is turned off.” Electronics have weaknesses and can go wrong in many ways, explained Armstrong.
**Problems with recalled Toyotas that are fixed
A report by the Associated Press finds that the government has received more than 100 complaints from drivers who say their recalled Toyotas are still accelerating on their own even after receiving the automaker's fix.
The AP found the number doubled in the last two weeks.
According to the analysis, the complaints are from drivers who say their recalled Toyotas are still accelerating on their own.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating and has found several instances in which dealers botched the repairs.
Officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say they are contacting owners who have complained.
According to the AP, Toyota blames the problem on floor mats that trap gas pedals or on sticky accelerators.
** Of Toyota's position, see Toyota: Sikes "intentionally misused" brakes to overheat them-->
• The front brakes showed severe wear and damage from overheating. The rear brakes and parking brake were in good condition and functional.(...)
Toyota engineers believe that it would be extremely difficult for the Prius to be driven at a continuous high speed with more than light brake-pedal pressure, and that the assertion that the vehicle could not be stopped with the brakes is fundamentally inconsistent with basic vehicle design and the investigation observations.
These findings suggest that there should be further examination of Mr. Sikes account of the events of March 8.
NHTSA investigators were present during Toyota’s examination, and are conducting their own investigation of the vehicle and its performance. Toyota’s examination was also observed by a congressional staff member.
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