Consumers often the last to know safety issues

February 24, 2010 6:56:57 PM PST
Lawmakers were told on Wednesday, it is not just Toyota, but the federal government itself that is hiding safety problems from the public.

Consumer advocate Joan Claybrook told Congress that consumers are often the last ones to know about car problems reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Claybrook used to head up the agency. She said the government is protecting the auto industry and hiding information about potentially deadly defects.

"But you can't get the number of consumer complaints, you can't get the number of warranty claims, you can't get the information about their field activities, and they don't even have the number of lawsuits filed on that particular case, so you are really disabled," said Claybrook.

Claybrook said the government should post consumer complaints so other drivers can be easily alerted to potential problems.