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Gov May Mandate Brake Override Systems for All New Cars

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By Tanya Roth, Esq. on March 02, 2010 1:51 PM

The Toyota Congressional hearing findings may start affecting the way all new cars are manufactured in the United States. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Tuesday that the agency might start recommending that all new vehicles sold in the United States be equipped with a brake override system that would prevent unintended acceleration. 

These recommendations come in light of the Congressional hearings into Toyota's safety issues. Over the last week, Congress heard testimony from researchers, politicians, victims of Toyota's accidents and the families of fatal accident victims. 

Most heart-wrenching was testimony by the mother of Chris Lastrella, whose final moments were heard on a 9-1-1 call as his Lexus was crashing with his sister, her husband and his niece inside. The family was heard praying minutes before the fatal accident, which occurred near San Diego late last year.

Senator Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) said that the problems in motor vehicle safety are not exclusive to Toyota, calling it "an industry problem."  He claimed that the recalls made over the years by other auto-makers dwarfed Toyota's recalls.  

Said Inouye: "If it is an industry problem, we should hear from the industry, instead of just Toyota."

Indeed, we should, if it could mean preventing another fatal accident due to product defect.

For now, Transportation Secretary LaHood had this to say to those driving Toyotas:

"To avoid pedal entrapment, remove all floor mats from the driver's side of your vehicle until you receive the repair for this problem from a Toyota dealer. If you do not remove the mat, make sure that it is always securely anchored in place on the retaining hooks and that no other mats are ever stacked on top of it. If your vehicle is covered by the "sticky pedal" recall, pay special attention to your gas pedal. If the pedal is harder to depress or slower to return after releasing it, this could be a precursor to a sticky pedal. If your pedal shows those symptoms you should contact a Toyota dealer immediately. If your accelerator becomes stuck for any reason, steadily apply the brake, put the car in neutral, bring it to a stop in a safe place, and call your dealer."

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