The company has been recalling some 9 million vehicles since receiving complaints of the sticky pedal problem in various models which caused some 30 deaths around America. Since then, every report seemed to link the company and how they have been recalling their cars. Even the highly popular Toyota Prius was not spared as it was also recalled due to some brake problems. Akio Toyoda, the president of Toyota will have to answer the questions when he face the key congressional committee this coming Wednesday. Among those, the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) of the Department of Transportation’s slow response to the complaints would also come under the microscope.
LaHood said "State Farm did contact NHTSA in 2007 on this subject but the initial contact was in February 2004. We were able to recently update this time frame as we reviewed our data in response to public interest in issues regarding Toyota models. What's missing from much of the other coverage Ive seen is the fact that, over the years, NHTSA officials actually asked State Farm to provide that information so they could incorporate it into their ongoing vehicle defect investigations. As they do information from all sources. In April, 2009, NHTSA requested State Farm's list of claims ‘alleging unintended acceleration for all vehicle models and model years between 2006 and 2009.’ So, the idea that NHTSA is in the business of ignoring information — valuable or otherwise — from automobile insurers, safety organizations, or consumers is just plain wrong,"
The DoT and NHTSA claims that they have already launched a preliminary investigations into the complaints they received about the sticky pedal problems in several Toyota cars back in March 2007 but did not specify if they have done anything before that. Dan Burton, the Republican member of the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee Dan Burton told Fox Television “Toyoda's presence at the committee hearing Wednesday, although voluntary, was necessary. I don't think we could force him to come, but I think the publicity and the overall impact on Toyota if he doesn't testify would be severe,"
On top of that, Dimitrios Biller, a renowned lawyer for Toyota will also be at the hearing where he was actively involved from 2003 to 2007 and that he would be producing all related documents on how the company handled the ‘alleged motor vehicle defects and related litigation.’ He claims that Toyota has been hiding evidence about the so-called defects from the regulators as well as the consumers.