The nation's largest auto insurer says it alerted federal safety regulators in late 2007 about a rise in reports of unexpected acceleration in Toyota vehicles.
State Farm insurance says it noticed an uptick in reports of unwanted acceleration in Toyotas from its large database and warned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Congressional investigators are looking into whether the government missed warning signs of problems with Toyota vehicles. The Japanese automaker has recalled millions of vehicles. NHTSA spokeswoman Karen Aldana says State Farm forwarded the agency a Sept. 7, 2007, claim letter to Toyota concerning a crash involving a 2005 Camry. She says the report was reviewed and added to their complaint database.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says Toyota's leaders have assured him they are taking safety concerns "very seriously."
In a statement, LaHood said the transportation agency will "remain in constant communication with Toyota to hold them to that promise."
Toyota said Tuesday it was recalling about 437,000 Prius and other hybrid vehicles worldwide to fix brake problems. The recall includes 133,000 Prius cars and 14,500 Lexus HS250h vehicles in the United States.
U.S. owners will start receiving letters about the recall next week.
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