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DOT Investigating 2010 Toyota Prius Braking Issues
The U.S. Department of Transportation has opened a formal investigation into brake problems of the 2010 Toyota Prius, after the worldâ€™s biggest automaker acknowledged problems with the brakes in its top-selling hybrid.NHTSA, an agency that is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, said in a statement that it has received 124 consumer complaints, including four reports of crashes and two of minor injuries. Investigators have spoken with consumers and conducted pre-investigatory field work. They will look into allegations of momentary loss of braking capability while traveling over uneven road surfaces, potholes or bumps.
"Safety is our top priority," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. "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."
"Toyota will cooperate fully with NHTSA's investigation. Some customers have experienced inconsistent brake feel when the brakes are applied slowly and the ABS is activated driving over potholes, bumps or slippery road surfaces. The brakes are responding slightly slower than usual, but if the brakes are applied further, the vehicle is controlled," spokeswoman Cindy Knight told the Automotive News in an e-mail.
The Japanese government has ordered Toyota to investigate brake problems. The automaker said it had corrected problems with the antilock brake system in Prius models sold since late last month, including those shipped overseas. The flaw requires a software programming change to fix.
The Prius, which is built in Japan, is not one of the eight models that was affected by two recalls recently to fix problems with sticking gas pedals. All of those models were built at North American plants. But Prius is one of the automakers' most important models, carrying the flag for Toyota's mantra as the leading "green" automaker.
[source: Automotive News, DOT]
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