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Report: Toyota To Recall Tundra Pickups Over Air Bags

Jul 11, 2006 |

Toyota Motor Corp. will deactivate front-seat passenger air bag cut-off switches in many Tundra pickups to avoid having to install a costlier child safety seat anchoring system, a newspaper said Monday.

The Japanese automaker made the move after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on June 28 rejected Toyota's petition to waive a federal safety regulation, according to The Detroit News. The regulation requires most vehicles built after September 2002 and equipped with the cut-off switch to also have a certain child seat anchor system.

The regulation was meant to see that child seats stay in place in a crash, especially in pickup trucks and other vehicles with smaller rear seating, the newspaper said.

Child seats are not allowed in front seats that lack an air bag cut-off switch, which activates the air bag only if it senses an adult is in the passenger seat.

Deactivating the switch means the air bag will always deploy, making it unsafe to ever put a child in the front seat.

In June 2005, Toyota said that 156,555 Tundras from the 2003-05 model years did not comply with the child seat anchor safety regulation.

Toyota said it will voluntarily recall Tundra pickups, beginning in mid-September. It first will complete engineering of the parts to deactivate the air bag cut-off switch, said spokesman Bill Kwong.

Washington-based Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety said Toyota should not be allowed to simply deactivate the switches.

Kwong said engineering issues may make it impractical to add the latches.

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