“Late yesterday, the vehicle was secured with the new owners’ permission and we understand NHTSA may move to acquire it,” a Toyota official told The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) by email. She added Toyota would support National Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA) with further study of the vehicle.
The Smiths’ Lexus became a bone of contention in the congressional hearing Tuesday. Smith tearfully described to the committee how her Lexus accelerated out of control up to speeds of 100mph on a Tennessee highway in 2006.
At the time, NHTSA investigators determined a rubber floor mat had trapped the accelerator into full throttle position. But Smith and her husband insisted floor mats were not at fault, the WSJ noted.
Because her cruise control light flashed before the vehicle took off at high speed, Smith thinks the problem is related to the vehicle’s electronics.
Also on Tuesday, NHTSA said the new owners of the ES350 sedan had reported 27,000 miles trouble-free with the vehicle. Smith and her husband sold the vehicle after the incident in which she thought she might die.
The federal safety agency followed up with the new owners last week. A NHTSA spokeswoman said “they have had no problems with the Lexus since they bought it with less than 3,000 miles on the car.”