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Brett Emison
Brett Emison
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What the NHTSA / NASA Reports Did NOT Say About Toyota Sudden Acceleration

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After Secretary LaHood made his bombastic comments about the Toyota sudden acceleration investigation, I wrote about how the media was focused only on the Secretary’s commentary and not the actual findings of the report, and attempted to summarize (based on NHTSA’s report and its description of NASA’s findings) "What NASA Said About Toyota Sudden Acceleration".

Read the full NHTSA Toyota Sudden Acceleration Report

Read the full NASA Toyota Sudden Acceleration Report

A reminder of what NASA did say about Toyota sudden acceleration:

Due to system complexity which will be described and the many possible electronic hardware and software systems interactions, it is not realistic to attempt to "prove" that the ETCS-i cannot cause UAs. Today’s vehicles are sufficiently complex that no reasonable amount of analysis or testing can prove electronics and software have no errors. Therefore, absence of proof that the ETCS-i has caused a UA does not vindicate the system.

– NASA’s Toyota Unintended Acceleration Investigation Report, p. 20 (emphasis added)

Proving that no one reporting on the findings actually read either the NHTSA report or the NASA report, there has been no discussion of the many redactions contained in the reports. Why are NHTSA and NASA hiding information in their public investigations of this critical safety defect?

What we got in the report were pages like this:

NASA's Toyota SUA report p. 138 was heavily redacted

And this:

NHTSA Toyota SUA Report was heavily redacted

NHTSA’s report on Toyota sudden acceleration contained numerous redactions, including redactions on the following pages:

  • Page v.
  • Page 32
  • Page 33
  • Page 35

NASA’s report contained even more redactions, including redactions on the following pages:

  • Page 7
  • Page 54
  • Page 56
  • Page 57
  • Page 61
  • Page 62
  • Page 75
  • Page 76
  • Page 77
  • Page 84
  • Page 87
  • Page 88
  • Page 90
  • Page 91
  • Page 92
  • Page 97
  • Page 100
  • Page 102
  • Page 133
  • Page 135
  • Page 137
  • Page 138
  • Page 139
  • Page 141
  • Page 143
  • Page 144
  • Page 145
  • Page 146
  • Page 147

If these publicly sponsored safety reports really do exonerate Toyota, why is there so much to hide? Why are these redactions in many of the specific areas most likely to show information regarding electronic malfunction in Toyota’s throttle controls? Why does NHTSA and Toyota not want the public to know how many recall claims were made for various part groups in Table 7 on page 32 of the NHTSA report?

Some of the topics redacted include:

  • Regulated power supplies
  • Hardware configuration change mid-year 2003
  • Difference between 2005 and 2007 model years
  • System Redundancy Diagram
  • Cruise Control Diagnostic Codes
  • ECM Software Implementation

A close reading of these reports indicates they may raise more questions than answer, especially given NASA’s admission that the findings of its report "does not vindicate [Toyota’s] system."

Learn More:

[More on Toyota]

[More on Sudden Acceleration]

(c) Copyright 2011 Brett A. Emison