Victims, safety leaders & others push for passage of "Toyota bill" (7/28)
In a letter to Waxman and top Republican member, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) about the importance of necessary reforms at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the agency with regulatory authority to conduct vehicle defect recalls, 10 consumer, health and safety groups said, “At least 93 deaths may be associated with the defect, thousands of consumer complaints have been filed and millions of vehicles have been recalled……we support H.R.5381 because it takes a comprehensive approach that will directly address the fundamental safety problems and systemic oversight issues that have been brought to light.”
“If any members of Congress or auto industry executives had the indescribably frightening and deadly experience that I did behind the wheel of my out-of-control Toyota Camry, this bill would already be law,” said Bulent Ezal of Pismo Beach, California, speaking at the press conference. “Believe me, I know the difference between a brake and an accelerator, and this bill is stalled, plain and simple, because the auto industry doesn’t want it to pass.” Ezal’s wife, Anne, was killed when their car suddenly accelerated and plunged off a cliff on February 25, 2007.
Among others, major proposed requirements for agency and industry operations included in H.R. 5381 are: upgraded motor vehicle safety standards including accelerator control and brake override systems; development of a new standard ensuring that vehicle electronics provide adequate performance to support safety-based systems; event data recorders (EDRs) in all vehicles to document what occurs in a crash; significantly increased civil penalties up to $200 million; improved safety oversight, such as more information transparency and public access in the agency’s early warning information process; imposition of penalties to hold corporate officials civilly liable for submission of false, misleading or incomplete information to NHTSA; restoration of federal judicial redress if people believe NHTSA has illegally denied their petition to open a defect proceeding; and a major increase in funding for the agency that is desperately needed.
For the complete press release and additional information, visit http://www.saferoads.org/.