Jason Hayes

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Government motors

Interesting to read how the fedgov could be circling the wagons to protect GM’s market share.

Coyote Blog quotes a Wall Street Journal article that suggests the NHTSA is holding back the publication of a report which suggests the Toyota sudden acceleration syndrome could be largely attributed to driver error. That refusal to publish the study is apparently causing no small degree of consternation in the DOT and NHTSA as some officials believe it should have been published right away.

Senior officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation have at least temporarily blocked the release of findings by auto-safety regulators that could favor Toyota Motor Corp. in some crashes related to unintended acceleration, according to a recently retired agency official.

George Person, who retired July 3 after 27 years at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said in an interview that the decision to not go public with the data for now was made over the objections of some officials at NHTSA.

“The information was compiled. The report was finished and submitted,” Mr. Person said. “When I asked why it hadn’t been published, I was told that the secretary’s office didn’t want to release it,” he added, referring to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

From the WSJ article – The report states that electronic data reporters in many of the cars involved in sudden acceleration accidents indicate the gas pedal was fully depressed and the brakes had not been applied at the time of impact. That would seem to indicate drivers had mistakenly stepped on the gas pedal, not the brake.

While the accidents and loss of life are tragic, one can hardly hold Toyota responsible for a driver’s mistake and a Python-esque “BURN HER ANYWAY!!!” attitude can’t be held up as justification for fines, recalls, and new regulation. If the report findings tend to absolve Toyota, that information needs to be made public. Especially since we’re working with the most “transparent” administration in the history of the country.

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