The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
continues to dog Toyota
over a recall involving 157,000 Tundra
Access Cab pickups sold between 2003 and 2005. The vehicles in question violate a 2002 NHTSA
rule that requires vehicles with air bag
shut off switches to have special latches in the front seats for child safety seats, which these trucks don't. Toyota asked for an exemption from the rule and was denied, at which point it decided to issue a recall to disable the air bag shut off switches and affix a new warning label that recommended parents place child safety seats in the back seat. Toyota went this way because engineering new child safety seat latches for the front passenger seat of the Tundra would be extremely expensive and difficult.
The NHTSA decided that disabling the airbag
shut off switch would confuse owners, so now Toyota is forced to start over. This time the automaker will be sending a letter to all affected Tundra owners that explains the problem and urges owners to put children in the back seat. The letter will also inform owners that if they want new child safety seat latches in the front seats, they can request them from Toyota, which will retrofit fit them as soon as it figures out how to.
[Source: The Detroit Free Press]