Thursday, February 11, 2010

How Is NHTSA Handling Toyota Recall?

Auto-maker Toyota has recalled a number of its models due to gas pedal entrapment, sticky gas pedals, and brake problems (see this Consumer Advisory by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration). In fact, a week ago the NHTSA announced that it was launching an investigation of the 2010 Toyota Prius Hybrid due to braking issues. Is this agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation doing enough to address automobile safety problems? In an interview today on Democracy Now!, former NHTSA head Joan Claybrook claims that it is not (view a transcript or audio/video clip here). She contends that Toyota has known about problems with its models since 2004 and that the NHTSA hasn't been doing enough to investigate the company.

Where can you find government information about vehicle defects and recalls? The latest NHTSA studies and reports are listed here, although you may not find any materials dealing with recalls. Links to Monthly Defects Investigation Reports are listed on this NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation web page. The ODI web site also contains older data for download from NHTSA/ODI databases, and drivers can File a Safety Complaint.

For a perspective from a different branch of government, you can look forward to the March 2 hearing the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation: "Toyota's Recalls and the Government's Response."

For more resources, take a look at our guide to transportation.

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