I-Team's pickup report gets Feds' attention - WSMV News 4

I-Team's pickup report gets Feds' attention

Posted: Updated: October 22, 2007
U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn

There are significant results from an I-Team investigation into one of the most popular pickup trucks on the road.

Two U.S. representatives from Tennessee are getting involved, and one is calling for a congressional hearing.

The investigation found complaints from all over the country about 2007 Toyota Tacomas suddenly accelerating or lurching forward while stopped.

Highway safety officials recently announced they would inspect the Tacomas, and U.S. Rep. Marcia Blackburn has suggested calling Toyota before Congress.

Blackburn said she learned from the I-Team that one of her constituents in Dover, Tenn., had a crash involving his 2007 Tacoma. She said she saw how drivers all over the country had similar complaints about the trucks accelerating on their own.

"When you see that other people are experiencing that problem, you go, ‘Hey, there's probably a little bit to this,'" she said.

The investigation already sparked federal inspections of the trucks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is testing to see why some drivers said the vehicles not only accelerate for no reason on the interstate but also lurch forward when the brake is pressed.

Blackburn sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees consumer safety.

She wrote an open letter to the committee chairman saying the investigation "raises serious safety concerns" and that it should ensure NHTSA is notifying the public of any potential safety issue.

Channel 4's investigation also prompted local U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon to contact NHTSA and ask for a swift and thorough investigation. Congressional hearings could be next.

"Maybe we should take another review of this. Maybe invite Toyota into the hearing to bring those records and invite some of the consumers in," Blackburn said.

The committee is the same group of lawmakers who are looking into complaints about lead paint in toys and the various E. coli concerns in food.

Toyota said during the reporting of the investigation that it wasn't aware of the complaints and would cooperate with federal inspectors.

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