The Fix Was In?

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on February 8, 2011

Remember those unintentional acceleration problems Toyota appeared to be experiencing some time back? Remember how everyone thought that quality control at Toyota had gone down the tubes?

Well, it appears that the condemnations of Toyota were more than a bit hasty; the Obama Administration’s investigation into the matter found that there were no electronic problems causing the unintended acceleration, that at most, there were some mechanical defects involving sticking gas pedals that were dealth with via recalls, and that the problem was attributable on a number of occasions to driver error–drivers hit the gas pedal when they meant to hit the brake.

So, are we done with this issue? Well, no. As Walter Olson points out, there are still issues that need to be dealt with:

If, as retiring NHTSA official George Person charged last July, DoT officials dragged their heels in making public the exculpatory findings, there were very real costs to the economy. Not only did lawsuits proliferate which one hopes are now on their way to sputtering out, but Toyota (as Reuters reports) “was the only major automaker in the United States to report a drop in sales last year” even though the Japanese-owned automaker has ramped up costly dealer and sales incentives. Did it make a difference that the federal government has taken a proprietor’s interest in major Toyota competitors GM and Chrysler, or that a former trial lawyer lobbyist heads the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration? Those questions might be worth a hearing at the newly reconstituted House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Why not? Elections do have consequences, after all.

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