Nightly News   |  February 04, 2010

Defensive driving 101

David Champion, senior director of the Auto Test Division for Consumer Reports, talks about what Toyota owners need to know to make sure their vehicles are safe.

Share This:

This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: For more on this, David Champion is with us tonight . He is the senior director of the Consumer Reports auto test division. He's at their facility in Connecticut . David , a lot of the advice and government warnings seem to leave out one thing and that is that the American roads are full of Toyotas . People have no other choice . They're driving them right now. What's the practical advice? And are these cars, in your view, unsafe?

Mr. DAVID CHAMPION (Consumer Reports): This event of the throttle pedal sticking or the carpet entrapment is a very rare occasion that this should happen on Toyota vehicles . There's been something like 2,000 complaints of unintended acceleration. And in that same period Toyota sold something like 20 million vehicles. So it's a one in 10,000 chance that you would have it. If you have one of these vehicles, make sure you remove all the floormats out of the driver's side footwell, and be aware that if the throttle does stick, push it into neutral, pull the car over to the side of the road and turn the engine off.

WILLIAMS: And, David , Toyota has taken such a huge hit here. What do they have to do for the sake of their brand name ?

Mr. CHAMPION: What they need to do is to fix all these cars really quickly. They need to jump on this Toyota Prius brake issue that's going on, and really reach out to the customer, really make sure that their cars are right for them. And if they do that, in the long run, I think, Toyota may get their reputation back. They've always built very, very good cars with very good safety records and their reliability is second to none.

WILLIAMS: David Champion , with the Consumer Reports organization , on one of the biggest consumer product crises to come along in some time. David , thank you. Thank you for your time tonight .