Yesterday’s Toyota hearing at the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee was a desperate attempt to keep the Toyota issue in the headlines, and to provide flanking support for Waxman’s proposed Motor Vehicle Safety Act. The ghosts in the machine are still at large …
Toyota’s Jim Lentz testified as we said he would testify: Despite an exhaustive analysis of the electronics, no gremlins were found. Lentz said that Exponent “are testing everything that could possibly create unintended acceleration.” He added that Toyota has never discovered any evidence that electronics could be at the center of a problem.
That wasn’t good enough for Waxman who thundered that the results of Toyota’s “examination raise serious questions. Toyota has repeatedly told the public it has conducted extensive testing for electronic defects. We can find no basis for these assertions.” Waxman couldn’t produce a ghost either.
According to the rules of jurisprudence, one cannot be forced to supply evidence that does not exist.
Toyota received unexpected support from David Strickland, head of NHTSA, who told the hearing that Toyota’s remedies for the recall appear to be working. According to Reuters, Strickland “also said that an agency-led investigation of Toyota electronics is moving forward with the help of space agency experts from NASA and the Justice Department, work that will be subject to scientific peer review in coming months.” Translation: No ghost found so far, and none expected in the near future.
Republican Marsha Blackburn castigated committee Democrats for jumping to premature conclusions. She reported that some of her constituents in Tennessee are concerned that members of the committee are grandstanding in an “attempt to vilify a corporation.”
Another day in the nation’s capital.