Toyota Influenced Government Report on Vehicle Safety

A safety watchdog group has published findings that are critical of the government’s review of reported problems with unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles, saying the report was “heavily influenced by Toyota”.

Safety Research and Strategies conducted an extensive review of the information provided by to the federal regulators by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the NASA Engineering and Safety Center. Their account of this data contradicts the previous conclusion reached by NHTSA in February, which stated that the government agency found no problems in the vehicle electronic system, and concluded that the thousands of reported auto accidents were the result of driver error.

Among their other alarming conclusions, the group found that the government’s reports on the Toyota problems were “directed by an agency that has exonerated Toyota’s electronics in the past and has relied solely on the automaker’s representations … Toyota was heavily involved in guiding the research of both reports.” See the full story on the report here.

Update March 2, 2012: CNN obtained internal Toyota documents that show the company was aware of an electronic malfunction that caused sudden, unintended acceleration in several models. See the full report: Translated Toyota memo shows electronic acceleration concern