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Discussion Starter #1
My senior (82) father was driving his Prius when it suddenly "just completely shut off". It stopped on a rather major 4-lane road, and he was unable to move it out of the travel lane - which ended up blocking traffic. Fortunately, no accidents resulted.

He called the police, who came and tried (unsuccessfully) to move the car out of the traffic. They called a tow truck, who then also struggled to get the car to power up to get it on their rollback flat bed. They towed it to the local dealer.

Once there, the tow truck driver once again struggled to get it to power up get it off the wrecker.

An hour later I was talking to my dad, who was already driving his car back home! I asked him what the dealer had found... and they found NOTHING WRONG WITH THE CAR - and sent him on his way.

Something didn't seem right, so I called the service adviser. He said they did a full diagnostic on the car and couldn't find anything wrong with it. At this point I hadn't spoken with the tow truck company or the police, so I didn't know that they both had issues moving the car. So I accepted the dealers claim that there was nothing wrong. They, of course, refused to pay for the tow since there was no problem with the car. I asked the adviser if he'd ever hear of a Prius just shutting down while being driven. "A Prius? No."

I then called a friend who works as the service manager at another Toyota dealer in the neighboring county, and explained to him what happened (at this point I knew about the difficulty the police and wrecker had). When I told him what the adviser at the other dealer said about no Prius ever shutting down, he said "what a Doooshbag"... He said "Get the car here, and we'll do everything to make sure it's safe".

My dad is starting to show is age, and gets easily flustered and confused. I was certain it was operator error until I talked to the wrecker and police. Now I think the local Toyota dealer that sent him home with no problems, was either woefully inept, or purposefully deceptive (perhaps to avoid the towing bill?). My father was so thrilled to get his car back right away, that any further discussion about the potential hazard of continuing to drive an unreliable vehicle was immediately met with "I don't care, I don't want to know" stick-your-head-in-the-sand mentality.

TL;DR

Has anyone here ever experienced a sudden shutdown, or read/heard about anyone that has? I've found several articles (one as recent as 4/18) that claim Toyota has been dogged with these sudden/unexpected shutdowns in their hybrids for 7-8 years. Seems extremely dangerous.

I can just see my dad trying to cross traffic, the car pulls out 10' and dies, he gets creamed, and the finding will be that he simply didn't see them coming.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Prius chat, no... I did over at Tundra solutions - trying to get as much exposure as possible. But, as it turns out, I think this was entirely operator error. I need to go back to the other forum and update it there as well.

Fortunately, for Christmas, we installed a dash camera in my dad's Prius. That let us hear the sounds leading up to the event. Not only did the car not completely power down as he claimed (the turn signal clicking could be heard for the entire hour he was "disabled") but we could hear the doors unlock the moment it happened. The prevailing theory now is that when he came to a stop at a red light, he accidentally put it in park (he said he thinks he pushed the "pause" button). That causes the doors to unlock. Then, when the light turned green, he stepped on the accelerator, and nothing happened. People honked, he panicked, and the rest is history.

No one was hurt, and the experience has left him shaken enough that he's agreed to surrender driving - at least when mom isn't with him. This may well have been a very fortunate incident.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So should have never been towed.
No, of course not. But, the towing industry has some pretty shady actors. Given the senior population in FL, I'm sure they see calls like this regularly. I'm sure if the driver had said "just put it in drive and go", he would have talked himself out of a tow.

The dash camera video shows him driving it onto (and off of) the roll back truck w/o any issues.
 

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No, of course not. But, the towing industry has some pretty shady actors. Given the senior population in FL, I'm sure they see calls like this regularly. I'm sure if the driver had said "just put it in drive and go", he would have talked himself out of a tow.

The dash camera video shows him driving it onto (and off of) the roll back truck w/o any issues.
Seniors becoming a minority here!
 
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