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Police recommend charges against driver in Prius crash

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So the police are having it both ways. They are going to charge this chap with making a false declaration, while other instruments of Toyota Inc, sorry Japan Inc., look into whether there is really an issue or not.

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"Data from an event recorder, or “black box,” in the Prius sent to a laboratory for analysis found the brakes were working properly, police said Friday."

Probably a Toyota lab checking Toyota data. Serious bias. And why can't these pathetically lazy journalists clarify the above issue of whether the lab is independent or a pawn of Toyota.

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How do we know the black box is recording information correctly?

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I totally agree with ronaldk.

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I am not surprised that some people are trying to take advantage of the Toyota situation to shift the blame of their reckless driving.

The above article said the data was investigated in the presence of the police - so hopefully they are experts and not just a plod watching them. What am I talking about? This is Japan!!!!! If wishes were fishes...

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The guy definitely needs to be charged. Clearly he's just looking for some quick cash/fame, but he's pretty stupid if he thinks they can't check for it. Throw the book at him -- if for nothing else than causing an accident intentionally.

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The "beauty" of this for a lot of old codgers and fools is that they can try to fall back on the 'it was my Toyota!' excuse when they mistake the gas pedal for the break and crash into a convenience store or go through a signal light and plow into a group of kids. Won't fly, in the end, but it'll make things just that little bit harder.

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"Data from an event recorder, or “black box,” in the Prius sent to a laboratory for analysis found the brakes were working properly, police said Friday."

They're paraphrasing. The data actually found that the brakes were working properly, the police officers were suave and debonair, and the president of Toyota is as dashing as Jude Law.

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the guy was probably texting on his phone and didn't go anywhere near his brakes....

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He could be lying or telling the truth. I smell a coverup. Think about it, if Toyota admits it was their cars fault, then they open themselves up for a potentially massive lawsuit. By covering it up. This poor guy eats the bullet.

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The charges should be for the car that stop when the signal was turning red! Everyone driving in Japan knows that if the signal is just about to change to red you have to speed up! No matter Toyota or 13t truck is coming behind you!!!

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Not sure about this case, could be a scam or could be one unlucky guy. That having been said, given the number of Toyota cases in the US and the deaths and investigations that forced Toyota to fess up in the US, we can be sure that there have been cases in Japan and resulting wrongful prosecutions. The problem in Japan is the almost perfect conviction rate once the cops start there questioning and that drivers are always considered responsible in cases involving bicycle and pedestrians. I wonder how many people are rotting in Japanese jails because Toyota executives did not come clean and that the justice system did not care to actually check driver claims.

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Don't blame the car -blame the driver.

I look at all Toyota drivers with suspicion these days -and feel sorry for the car.

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I seriously doubt this guy crashed his car to see about getting some money. I would say the odds are very good the following happened: For whatever reason he had to hit the brakes suddenly and he stepped on them. The anti-lock braking system kicked in and it "felt" like the brakes were not working even though they were. I get this whenever I have to step on the brakes. There is a slipping feel and it feels cheap and it feels weak but the brakes work fine.

But trusting in a black box to say the brakes worked? What data could they possibly have to determine that? The car suddenly stopped dead after the brakes were pushed? Yeah, I could see some engineer fixated on the idea that the sudden stop was due to perfect brake performance!

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"The "beauty" of this for a lot of old codgers and fools is that they can try to fall back on the 'it was my Toyota!' excuse when they mistake the gas pedal for the break and crash into a convenience store or go through a signal light and plow into a group of kids. Won't fly, in the end, but it'll make things just that little bit harder."

Smith has it exactly right. I thought exactly the same thing. The guy who accused Toyota... what did he have to lose? He figured... why not? And it turns out he does not get any harsher charge for making up lies than if he had just told the truth. Heck. They are going to go easy on him. Now if I had had the same crash in a Honda and tried it, I would get two legal boots to the face for not owning up to my failure. The best reason for buying a Toyota these days is that they give you a get out of jail free card with every purchase (offer void where prohibited).

Toyota is getting slandered by people who make baseless accusations. People have absolutely nothing to lose, so why not? It's terrible. Shameful. These kinds of things are turning up more and more.

You know what hell is? Selling a product in the US. Think about all the hassles you have to go through for regulation, then the political hassles, then the currency and labor hassles, then and only then do the lawsuits start. It is so sad to see the same bad-faith dealing starting up in Japan.

BTW, a similar story has popped up in the eastern US. Some lady backed out of her garage and into the wall of the neighbor across the street. They found out she did not touch the brake once. Independently verified by EIGHT non-Toyota people. But it's a Toyota, so nobody is rushing to any judgements.

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This backs up the idea that the man might be getting set up as the patsy for Toyota.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/chronicle/6898316.html

The AP investigation found that Toyota has been inconsistent — and sometimes even contradictory — in revealing exactly what the devices record and don’t record, including critical data about whether the brake or accelerator pedals were depressed at the time of a crash.

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ahh yes, the next wave from Toyota, scare Toyota owners into speaking out if you have any problems. I see the Toyota marketing team is already posting on here trying to down play everything.

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“Because the EDR system is an experimental device and is neither intended, nor reliable, for accident reconstruction, Toyota’s policy is to download data only at the direction of law enforcement, NHTSA or a court order,” the Toyota statement said.

HeyLars - Thanks for the link.

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driving in Japan knows that if the signal is just about to change to red you have to speed up!

Yeah, what a wacky country. This never happens anywhere else.

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In the US green means go, yellow means go faster and red means you didn't go fast enough! But in the case of unstoppable Toyotas I am still thinking that the software problem has more to do with the driver's brain and less to do with the vehicle.

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Personally i think it,s too coincidental that this guy had this particular problem at this particular time under particular prius scrutiny.... "If it looks like a duck it sounds like a duck it,s probably a duck" He better stop quacking or is it tooo late!!!!!!!

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"Data from an event recorder, or "black box," in the Prius"

Priuses have black boxes!

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No different than the guy in the US who tried to claim the same thing - he just wants part od the settlement money.

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I'm gonna have to remember that the next time I'm following too closely and/or on the cell phone and rear-end someone... "Officer, I stepped on the brakes and they didn't work!" Oh, wait. I don't own a Prius so that won't work as an excuse.

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Priuses have black boxes!

Many cars do...from a 2004 article--

EDRs are certainly not new. Information gathered on black boxes — >typically everything from speed, brake pressure, seat belt use and air bag >deployment — has already been used in determining guilt in criminal and >civil cases across the country.

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Sounds like more than a few of the cases I've heard claiming Prius break failure that don't add up.

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How about a link Himajin

So we all can read it and come to our own conclusions.

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"Officer, I stepped on the brakes and they didn't work!" Oh, wait. I don't own a Prius so that won't work as an excuse."

Hey! Try it anyway! He might not notice. If he does notice, he will just slap your back and give you a wink. The only loser in this party is Toyota!

Insert Cole Porter's "Anything Goes" here.

Oh by the way. I am not a Toyota "fan." I am really seriously not a car guy at all. I just think Toyota is getting dragged through the dirt and they don't deserve it, that's all. I have the strong suspicion that the US, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, just needed a monster of the week to put between some Imam rant video and Haiti. They chose Toyota and everybody piled on. So consider me a "disinterested observer."

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"he just wants part od the settlement money."

I don't think so-

"Two people in that car were slightly injured in the July 19 accident, which resulted in two other cars getting bumped at an intersection in Matsudo city, northeast of Tokyo."

July 19th ? This accident happened "8" months ago ! The "sticky break" "Runaway Toyota" scandal had barely hit the US headlines in the Winter of last year and then really took off in January and February of this ! Suggesting this guy would purposely run his Toyota into others at an intersection "just for the money" is ridiculous !

This looks like just one of those many incidents, 13 in Japan in all- so far, that are not excluded to "the USA only" as so many posters here at Japantoday have suggested. These braking issues are literally a world-wide problem and we will see more and more cases slowly come out of hiding. Toyota has tried their best to keep a lid on all this- even going as far as to blame the drivers, like in this case. Now this kind of aggressive bullying might work in Japan- where Toyota drivers might feel intimidated and accept the Toyota version of things- but this is not being accepted so easily in the US where drivers want answers ! Major cultural difference here.

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Nice try buddy! Great ready-made excuse for any driver of a Prius who causes a crash!

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Throw the book at the guy but do not let up on Toyota either. The day that the recall took effect in the USA, a man ran his Toyota into a dealership after they refused to work on his car for free. There will always be those that seek to take advantage of any situation for personal gain. All we can do is expose these sharks for what they are and punish them as much as possible as an example for others. This, however, doesn't excuse the extant problems with Toyota cars and the company’s management of the problem

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Branded has a great point. This accident happened in July last year. And according to this article that is the same month the complaints started happening! http://autos.aol.com/article/prius-brake-problems/ So if this guy was planning to ride the wave of complaints against Toyota he must have crystal ball! And if he has a crystal ball that can foretell such things, I would think he would have found some better wave to ride or at least foresaw the trouble he faces now!

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If I wanted to get rid of my Prias, what better way of getting out of payments.. just crash it and claim it was defective..

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Branded has a great point

No he doesn't. The driver in question was trying to avoid negligence by claiming to the police that "breaks didn't work" at the time of the accident. This isn't new. Since this was a rental car, the police questioned previous renters and found no evidence of "brake" failure.

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There's no way to know how many runaway cases are for real, even as the figures pile ever higher. The phenomenon has plenty of parallels. Think of medical students who learn about all sorts of disorders and then suspect they may be stricken by them. But as long as reports of Prius profile keep rolling in, just look at the extensive coverage given by the media. That's something that would have gone utterly unnoticed a year ago, expect complaints to keep rising. Most people are basically anticipating them happening, and we may be prone to jump to conclusions without all the facts.

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nigelboy, yes branded does have a great point. Neither he nor I was trying to say that this guy was telling the truth. What we are saying is that he was not riding the "blame the Prius" wave because it had not started yet. There are still reasons to think he is lying so no need to be so protective of Toyota...yet.

Something you don't seem to understand is that brakes and accelerators are not what they used to be. Its not a simple work or don't work thing anymore, and asking previous renters if the brakes worked does not prove it. As they get more complicated, with anti-lock braking systems and computer assistance and control, things can work one minute and not the next. Finding the trouble is getting harder. Thinking otherwise is like saying Windows never crashed, you must have dropped your computer! Or if it reboots you say, "See, it works! Windows never crashed!" BTW, Microsoft often denied any problems with Vista.

The list of people complaining is getting too long to try to call them all liars. Occam's razor applies. And I have yet another article criticizing Toyota's openness with relevant data. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_runaway_prius

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Wait, this happened last July, before the car problems had received widespread publicity? I'm doubting it was an attempt at getting a settlement from the car maker. Seriously doubt it was an attempt at that at all. Perhaps an attempt to duck responsibility by claiming the brakes failed. But not an attempt to cash in on the latest troubles.

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http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,132056,00.html

Come to your own conclusions about what? Whether or not cars have black boxes?

http://news.cnet.com/Rocky-road-for-car-black-boxes/2009-1041_3-5604449.html

http://www.fox16.com/news/local/story/Many-cars-have-a-black-box/TtSlnW_tS0KZzHW7-J5RzA.cspx

These articles are old, because this was when they began to be focused on in the press. I don't see much debate about them lately.

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Japanese police are recommending charges against a driver who says his Toyota Prius crashed because of brake failure after an analysis of data from the car showed no defects.

I don't think the J-police should be charging the driver for brake failure. The black box says one thing vs what the driver said then there is a stalemate. The J-police should ask the witnesses (passengers and bystanders). The witnesses are as good as the black box.

The J-police would look very foolish in the long run if what the driver says turned out to be true. The black box is as good as the engineer unless the black box is proven to be infallible.

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