Release of Toyota Documents Blocked, Ex-Official Says — WSJ.com

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Release of Toyota Documents Ex-Official Says

Josh

Updated July 30, 2010 p.m. ET

DETROIT—Senior officials at the Department of Transportation have at temporarily blocked the release of by auto-safety regulators that favor Toyota Motor TM -0.77% Toyota Motor ADS U.S. NYSE $ 109.58 -0.77% May 15, 2014 10:23 am (Delayed 15m). 46,765 P/E 9.30 Market Cap $192.37 Dividend Yield N/A Rev. per $764,041 04/21/14 Toyota, Workers in In. 04/16/14 Auto Races to Recall. 04/10/14 to Introduce More Fuel-. quote details and news TM in Value Your Change position in some crashes to unintended acceleration, according to a retired agency official.

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

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

A Transportation Department spokeswoman, Alair, said NHTSA is reviewing data from the vehicles the agency is examining. Its is not yet complete. The investigation remains she said.

A Toyota spokesman to comment. A NHTSA spokeswoman did not to phone calls and an email comment.

At the time of his retirement, Mr. Person, 67 old, was chief of NHTSA’s Management Division, which is of the agency’s Office of Defects He said he was briefed on the agency’s into the causes of accidents in drivers said Toyota suddenly accelerated on their and said he offered his input on the to investigators.

Ms. Alair said Mr. was not involved in any aspect of the ongoing into unintended acceleration.

Mr. said he retired in good with the agency. Ms. Alair she could not comment on personnel

Mr. Person’s comments follow a 14 story in The Wall Street that said NHTSA had data suggesting many incidents were the result of stepping on the gas when they they were hitting the

Earlier this year, recalled more then 8.5 vehicles globally for defects to sudden acceleration, and paid a million fine for failing to safety issues promptly.

came under criticism by and auto-safety advocates, who accused the of being too cozy with makers in recall investigations.

has said its investigations show sudden-acceleration problems were by floor mats that pin down the gas pedals of its cars. It found some gas pedals get stuck briefly in an open

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Some members of Congress and advocates have suspected glitches could also be a

Since March, the agency has 40 Toyota vehicles where acceleration was cited as the cause of an Mr. Person said. NHTSA 23 of the vehicles had accelerated suddenly, Mr. said.

In all 23, he added, the vehicles’ data recorders or black showed the car’s throttle was open and the brake was not depressed at the of impact, suggesting the drivers stepped on the gas pedal instead of the Mr. Person said.

The agency has for too ignored what I believe is the cause of these unintended cases, he said. It’s error. It’s pedal and that’s what this shows.

Mr. Person said he believes Department officials are sitting on data because it could criticism that NHTSA is too to the auto maker and has not looked enough for electrical flaws in vehicles.

It has become very There is a lot of anger towards Mr. Person said. Transportation are hoping against hope they find something points back to a flaw in vehicles.

NHTSA has received than 3,000 unconfirmed of sudden acceleration in Toyotas, some dating to early decade, according to a report the compiled in March. The incidents 75 fatal crashes involving 93

Kate Linebaugh contributed to article.

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