In response to consumer complaints regarding Toyota’s sudden acceleration recalls, the United States House of Representatives has called Toyota to testify at an Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing scheduled for February 25.
The Detroit Free Press discusses the tragic impetus behind the hearing: “In a statement, [Bart] Stupak, D-Menominee, said federal data showed that 19 deaths had been linked to sudden acceleration complaints in Toyotas in the past several years, more than all other automakers combined.”
Sources report that Stupak, chairman for the subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, issued data requests to both Toyota and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The Los Angeles Times says the letters “asked for a comprehensive timeline of what the two organizations knew about sudden-acceleration problems and when they knew it. The panel wants an analysis of NHTSA's early-warning system, a statistical forecasting tool that was put in place over the last decade to signal the very kinds of problems that Toyota vehicles have experienced. That system apparently failed to flag the problem.”
According to the New York Times, “Toyota said it welcomed the opportunity to appear before the committee and pledged its full cooperation.”
Toyota isn’t the only manufacturer to ever participate in such a hearing, as Autoblog points out. They cite another automotive defect that ended in tragic deaths, writing, “The recall involving Firestone tires on Ford Explorers in 2000 sparked Congressional hearings, for instance.”