Apple co-founder Wozniak: Reboot your Toyota Prius

2010 Toyota Prius Corinne Schulze/CNET

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has a solution for Toyota's problem with alleged unintended acceleration. If your car is acting up and starts to speed up on its own, treat it like a misbehaving computer--shut it down and then reboot. 

Speaking on a panel at the RSA security conference in San Francisco, Wozniak said, "Everything today has a computer in it, so everything will fail." In the case of the Toyota Prius, of which he has purchased nine, Wozniak said he was able to induce the unintended acceleration problem with the cruise control feature, and used the brake to slow down his car. 

His perspective is that Toyota has a software problem, a kind of "little failure" familiar to those who work with computers. Cars are microprocessor-based devices, like computers, and have bugs and glitches that can cause major or minor problems. 

However, Wozniak said that he believes Toyota vehicles are safe, and he will continue to buy them.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has linked 52 deaths to crashes allegedly caused by unintended acceleration problems with Toyota vehicles. More than 8 million Toyota's have been recalled due to what Toyota describes as sticky gas pedals.

Toyota has maintained so far that the problem of unintended acceleration is not an electrical, or software, problem. The U.S. government is planning to investigate that claim. 

In a letter to Toyota executive Jim Lentz, the  House Energy and Commerce Committee asked for more details regarding the company's investigation of episodes of unintended acceleration. "We do not understand the basis for Toyota's repeated assertions that it is 'confident' there are no electronic defects contributing to incidents of sudden unintended acceleration," wrote Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich. 

More than 60 Toyota owners who had their vehicles fixed by the company recently filed complaints, maintaining that their vehicles continue to exhibit the unintended acceleration problem.

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  • Dan Farber On Twitter»

    Dan has more than 20 years of journalism experience. He has served as editor in chief of CBSNews.com, CNET News, ZDNet, PC Week, and MacWeek.

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