Confirming the congressional memo we shared yesterday questioning the story of runaway Prius driver Jim Sikes, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) officials say "we have not been able to find anything to explain the incident that Mr. Sikes reported."
NHTSA joined technicians from Toyota in evaluating the car driven by Jim Sikes, who claimed his car accelerated out-of-control through Southern California last week. We were the first to raise the serious questions regarding the financial motivations and history of Mr. Sikes, and statements from the impartial federal agency draws his claims further into question.
"Further, the Prius is equipped with a system that detects simultaneous brake and accelerator pedal applications. When the brake applications are moderate or greater, the system will close the throttle allowing the vehicle to slow down and stop," said NHTSA officials. "The system on Mr. Sikes' Prius worked during our engineers' test drive."
It's important to note NHTSA's role as experts in evaluating these complaints means they typically are extremely cautious in releasing public statements like this. They also added that they observed extreme brake wear with regards to the front pads and rotors.
"We would caution people that our work continues and we may never know exactly what happened with this car."
Toyota will be making a statement later today and we'll be looking to see if they address whether or not the brake wear on the Prius belonging to Mr. Sikes is consistent with his story.