Senate transportation committee grills Toyota on vehicle recalls

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on March 2 hosted a day-long hearing on Toyota's recall of thousands of alleged defective vehicles.

Toyota officials outlined steps the automobile manufacturer is taking to address problems with the recalled model vehicles. Toyota recalled thousands of vehicles that could have two types of defects, which media have coined "pedal entrapment" and "sticky pedal." The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed five individuals in two incidents have died as a result of pedal entrapment. No deaths have been confirmed from the "sticky pedal" defect.

Some senators questioned whether Toyota's immediate method of response to reports of vehicle problems was influenced by financial savings. Lawmakers also questioned the effectiveness of NHTSA's vehicle enforcement program. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood responded in his testimony that NHTSA has an aggressive enforcement program that actively investigates each of the more than 30,000 complaints received from consumers every year concerning perceived safety problems with their vehicles.

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