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Gas Pedal Entrapment Recall Found on a 1997 Vehicle . . . and It's Not a Toyota

KENSINGTON, Md., March 1 -- Jack Fitzgerald, a Toyota dealer, has been very busy these past weeks repairing recalled Toyotas. Today, he found a car in his used car inventory that had an open recall for accelerator pedal entrapment. The car is not a Toyota, but a 1997 Honda Civic, and the recall was issued in 1999.

So who is looking out for consumers when manufacturers put out safety recall notifications?

The American people look to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for vehicle safety. Established in 1966, NHTSA has recalled over 390 million vehicles to correct safety issues.

Jack Fitzgerald of Fitzgerald Auto Malls also established his business in 1966 and has dealerships in three states on the East Coast. Among those, two of them sell Toyotas. Fitzgerald also operates one of the nation's largest Toyota Service Centers.

Over the years, Fitzgerald has sold over 25 different brands of vehicles. He has seen recalls by manufacturers and states about half of the recalls are never brought back for repairs.

"We do our own due diligence. Vehicles in my used car inventory go through a rigorous 138-point physical inspection and checking for recalls is included. Usually only brands we sell can be checked," says Fitzgerald. Several car manufacturers recently started to provide recall data to the public on their websites, including Honda and Toyota.

Fitzgerald is not a Honda dealer. When he checked the 1997 Civic on the Honda website, it was ironic it had an open recall for accelerator pedal entrapment, the same problem affecting some Toyota recalls today. "Open" means the vehicle has not been modified so unintended acceleration is still possible. See the recall notice, dated June 1999: =Campaigns%2FK60%2Ehtm&vin=1HGEJ7124VL072712

"Perhaps if Congress and the media had been aware of this problem in 1999, this car would have been repaired. NHTSA should collect this data from all manufacturers and provide it on their website. They need to develop new outreach programs to deliver effective recall messages to the public, as well as the dealerships," demands Fitzgerald.

Wonder if the car driving next to you is safe? Do vehicle owners know where to look for safety recalls affecting their cars? We hope US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood notices Jack Fitzgerald leading the pack in demanding new protocols from NHTSA.