Thursday, December 3, 2009
Uncle Sam Protects Who?
"More than 1,000 Toyota and Lexus owners have reported since 2001 that their vehicles suddenly accelerated on their own, in many cases slamming into cars and brick walls, among other obstacles, a Los Angles Times review of federal records has found. ... Owner complaints helped trigger at least eight investigations into sudden accleration in Toyota and Lexus vehicles by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA] in the last seven years. ... But those investigations systematically excluded or dismissed the majority of complaints by owners that their Toyota or Lexus vehicles had siddenly accelerated, sharply narrowing down the scope of the probles, the Times investigation revealed. ... The exclusions were used by NHTSA officials as a rationale to close at least five investigations without finding any defect, because--with fewer incidents to consider--the agency concluded there were not enough reported problems to warrant further inquiry. In a 2003 Lexus probe, for example, the agency threw our all but one of 37 customer complaints cited in a defect petition. It ultimately halted further investigation, saying it 'found no data indicating the existence of a defect trend'," Ralph Vartabedian and Ken Bensinger at the Houston Chronicle, 8 November 2009, link:http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-fi-toyota-recall8-2009nov08,0,6120294.story.
Is the NHTSA run by bank examiners? Regulatory capture at its finest.