NHTSA Head Honcho David Strickland Fires Back at Sen. Chuck Grassley, Defends NHTSA and Toyota

Not one to speculate, and also not really surprised, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration Administrator (does it seem weird that the top title at NHTSA is Administrator? Isn’t is assumed that they’ll be administrating?) David Strickland, the government’s top safety official, formally released a letter in response to Sen. Chuck Grassley’s inquiry about the results of the now infamous Toyota accelerator/floormat recall (caused by unintended acceleration), which affected millions of vehicles, and forever tarnished their “sterling reputation”. I would say more along the lines of people finding out that their precious Toyotas are not indestructible…kind of like a kid finding out that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are not real.

Note: if you have kids and they don’t know this yet, please don’t share this article with them. I can’t have that blood on my hands.

Anyways, the letter vehemently defends the questions that Sen. Grassley has raised, more specifically that the cause of the core problem was caused by electronic glitches. The Senator also questioned whether or not the NHTSA had the necessary experts/experience to be able to determine the true cause of the problem, citing that they had brought in NASA scientists for assistance during the investigation. Strickland stated that the reason why NASA scientists were brought in was to get a second opinion, to which they both concluded that the unintended acceleration issue was caused by faulty accelerator pedals and floormats, and not electronic glitches, or “tin whiskers”, as it is formally known.

To refresh your memory, “tin whiskers” (not from a metallic cat, mind you) is the name of a soldering issue caused by errant strands of solder, that’s inside the pedal assembly…Sen. Grassley seems to think that could have caused the issue to begin with. Shockingly enough, Toyota is siding with the NHTSA’s results from the investigation.

So, Toyota, the NHTSA/NASA thinks that it was the accelerator pedal and floormats.

Sen. Chuck Grassley thinks that it could be tin whiskers.

Now it’s a showdown…who will come out the victor in all of this? I suspect that the Senator will call to either re-open the investigation (bad idea), or hire an independent research company to conduct its own investigation (preferably not one out of Detroit. Stay tuned, this could have even more serious ramifications on Toyota…


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