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Brakes ok in Prius involved in crash

TOKYO, Mar 19 – Japanese police said Friday they had found no problem with a Toyota Prius involved in an accident last July that led the transport ministry to ask the carmaker to review its braking system.

Instead, they concluded that the 37-year-old driver who filed the complaint was at fault in the rear-end collision that caused minor injuries to two people, and referred the case to prosecutors, a police investigator said.

The investigation found no abnormalities in the event data recorder, or "black box", of the Prius hybrid after the driver complained that the brake pedal had reacted too slowly, said the officer, who asked not to be named.

"Police investigated the accident and asked (automotive) engineering experts to analyse the recorded data. We concluded that there was no problem with the vehicle\’s braking system," he told AFP.

Police had also questioned others who had previously driven the vehicle, a rental car, and found none who had experienced the same problem.

Toyota, the world\’s largest automaker, has been hit hard this year by its global mass recalls of more than eight million vehicles for problems including unintended acceleration and brake failure.

In February it announced the recall of 437,000 third-generation Prius and other hybrids to repair a flaw in their anti-lock brake system which can cause a momentary lag in brake function.

The government is now studying whether to make mandatory for all cars in the country brake over-ride systems that shut down the engine when both the gas and brake pedals are pressed, the transport ministry said Thursday.

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