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3/6/2012 - Group calls on NHTSA to establish panel that analyzes automotive electronics

A report asks safety officials to review the electronic components of vehicles.

A new report has been released on the investigation of electronics system in vehicles, as these types of technologies have led to safety recalls that can impact driving safety.

The inquiry was requested by The Research Council from the National Academy of Sciences in the wake of several incidents between 2009 and 2010 that stemmed primarily from acceleration issues involving Toyota vehicles. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration looked into the matter and found that electronic systems were not the cause of the highly publicized issues, The Research Council found it "troubling" that the NHTSA's did not adequately address the public's concerns about automotive technologies, according to the report.

As a result, TRC has called on the NHTSA to establish an advisory panel whose specific function would be to investigate automotive electronics systems and ensure that they don't lead to safety problems.

"NHTSA has already taken steps to strengthen its expertise in electronic control systems while expanding research in this area - and the agency has considerable experience dealing with vehicle electronics issues in its research, rulemaking, and enforcement programs," NHTSA said in response to the report.

The hope is that a better understanding of electronic systems will lead to fewer recalls, accidents and auto insurance claims that may result from flawed technologies.

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