Issa Urges LaHood to Establish Industry-Wide Solution to Address Unintended Acceleration

March 3, 2010

WASHINGTON. D.C. – House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ranking Member Darrell Issa (R-CA) sent a letter today to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood urging him to begin the process of identifying an “industry-wide solution” to address unintended acceleration.

“Per our conversation about the need to implement overlapping safety systems to protect Americans from automotive failures including incidents of unintended acceleration, I urge you to begin consultations with auto safety experts, including representatives from the Society of Automotive Engineers, about the most appropriate way to implement industry-wide standards,” Issa wrote to Sec. LaHood.  “Such consultations should shed light on the most productive way forward – whether through voluntary implementation, regulation, or legislation.”

In preparation for efforts to address these problems, Issa is requesting that NHTSA respond to the following questions related to possible industry wide standard or regulation for brake override technology:

  1. Please identify the automobile manufacturers who would have the current technological capacity to install brake override systems on all of their vehicles starting in 2011.
  1. Has NHTSA or the Department of Transportation conducted any analysis of the economic impact of such standards or regulations?  If NHTSA or the Department of Transportation pursued these standards or regulations, what economic analysis would be conducted prior to issuing the standard or regulation?
  1. Has the Department or NHTSA conducted any analysis of SUA events in other manufacturers?  If so, please provide the Committee with any analysis or data relating to SUA events in other manufacturers.
  1. Does the Department believe that overlapping electronic safety systems, such as a brake override, would have a significant impact on safety?  What percentage of manufacturers and vehicles would remain unaffected by new regulations or standards based on their current design?

Issa concluded, “The Committee understands that a manufacturer cannot guarantee a vehicle will never experience unintended acceleration; however, it is our understanding that a brake override system or similar fail-safe could play an important role in limiting the number of these incidents. Accordingly, the remedy of a brake override system should not be limited to Toyota products alone – an industry-wide solution is necessary.”

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