Dual Investigations of Unintended Acceleration Launched

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced them Tuesday. One looks at the auto industry as a whole and will be done by the independent National Academy of Sciences. The second, by NASA engineers, will study the problem in Toyotas.

Calls for a major government probe of the entire problem of unintended motor vehicle acceleration have been answered. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced two major investigations: The independent National Academy of Sciences will examine unintended acceleration and electronic vehicle controls across the automotive industry, completing this task in 15 months, and NHTSA has enlisted nine NASA engineers and other experts in computer-controlled electronic systems, electromagnetic interference, and software integrity to study the problem in Toyotas. This latter investigation should be completed by late summer, according to DOT.

"We are determined to get to the bottom of unintended acceleration," LaHood said Tuesday. "For the safety of the American driving public, we must do everything possible to understand what is happening, and that is why we are tapping the best minds around."

LaHood also has asked DOT's inspector general to examine whether NHTSA's Office of Defect Investigation conducted an adequate review of unintended acceleration reports to NHTSA since 2002, along with whether the office had enough personnel and staff expertise to assess and address technical issues raised by the complaints and whether the data were sufficient to identify specific defects causing unintended acceleration.

The two studies will be given peer review by scientific experts and, combined, will cost about $3 million, which includes the cost to buy cars that have reportedly experienced unintended acceleration so they can be studied.

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