2010年8月7日土曜日

NHTSA 情報隠蔽か

NHTSAが情報隠蔽したようだ。
 トヨタ自動車製の車が米国で急加速して死傷事故を起こしたとされる
問題で、原因は車両の欠陥ではなく、運転ミスの可能性が高いことを示す
調査結果が出たものの、NHTSAが公表を控えていたことが分かった。

NHTSAは急加速が起きた23台について、運転記録を調査。
調査結果は、運転手の誤操作とのことだが、注意喚起するべきところを
隠したため、疑惑となっているようだ。
一般的には、公共機関が公平に取扱わないからと言われそうだが、米国
ではロビー活動により、不平等が当たり前もあるようで、良いか悪いかは
取り方によるだろう。

トヨタ事故 運転ミスが主因か


---米当局、運転ミス示す情報隠す?=トヨタ車急加速で―新聞報道---
2010年7月31日16時1分
http://www.asahi.com/international/jiji/JJT201007310041.html

 【ニューヨーク時事】トヨタ自動車製の車が米国で急加速して死傷事故を起こしたとされる問題で、原因は車両の欠陥ではなく、運転ミスの可能性が高いことを示す調査結果が出たものの、米運輸省傘下の道路交通安全局(NHTSA)が公表を控えていたことが分かった。
 米紙ウォール・ストリート・ジャーナル(電子版)が31日までに報じた。事実であれば、当局による情報隠ぺいとも言える行為だけに、論議を呼びそうだ。
 NHTSAを7月に退職した元幹部が、同紙に明らかにした。トヨタに有利な情報を公開すれば、議会などから当局がトヨタに接近しすぎているとの批判を浴びる恐れがあったため、ラフード米運輸長官の周辺が非公表を決めたという。 
[時事通信社]


---米運輸省:トヨタ寄りの結果公表を阻止、衝突事故調査で-WSJ---
更新日時: 2010/07/31 08:26 JST
http://www.bloomberg.co.jp/apps/news?pid=90920008&sid=ahE3JwdRKy64

 7月30日(ブルームバーグ):米運輸省がトヨタ自動車製の自動車で起きた意図しない加速に伴う衝突事故の調査で、同社の主張を後押しする内容となる可能性のある結果の公表を阻止した、と米紙ウォールストリート・ジャーナル(WSJ、オンライン版)が伝えた。今月に入って運輸省道路交通安全局(NHTSA)を退職したジョージ・ピアソン氏の話として報じた。
 ピアソン氏の説明によれば、この調査結果では、一部の運転手はブレーキではなくアクセルを誤って踏み込んだことが示されているという。運輸省のオリビア・アレア報道官は同紙の取材に対し、調査は引き続き行われていると語った。


---トヨタ車「運転ミス」米当局、調査隠匿か…米紙報道---
2010年7月31日 読売新聞
http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/atcars/news/20100731-OYT8T00538.htm?from=os4

 【ニューヨーク=小谷野太郎】トヨタ自動車の大量リコール(回収・無償修理)問題で、急加速の原因が運転者の操作ミスとみられる複数の調査結果を、米高速道路交通安全局(NHTSA)が意図的に公表しなかった疑いのあることが30日、分かった。
 米ウォール・ストリート・ジャーナル紙(電子版)が報じた。
 7月にNHTSAを退職した元幹部が、実名で告発した話として伝えた。急加速が起きた23台について、NHTSAが運転記録を調べたところ、いずれもアクセルが全開でブレーキを踏んだ痕跡がなく、運転者のペダルの踏み間違いの可能性が高かったという。


---Release of Toyota Documents Blocked, Ex-Official Says---
JULY 30, 2010, 6:18 P.M. ET
By MIKE RAMSEY And JOSH MITCHELL
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703999304575399523349443634.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

DETROIT-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.

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Person's comments follow a July 14 story in The Wall Street Journal that said NHTSA had accumulated data suggesting many sudden-acceleration incidents were the result of drivers stepping on the gas when they thought they were hitting the brakes.

Earlier this year, Toyota recalled more then 8.5 million vehicles globally for defects related to sudden acceleration, and paid a $16.4 million fine for failing to report safety issues promptly.

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

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

Some members of Congress and auto-safety advocates have suspected electrical glitches could also be a cause.

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

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

"The agency has for too long ignored what I believe is the root cause of these unintended acceleration cases," he said. "It's driver error. It's pedal misapplication and that's what this data shows."

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

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

NHTSA has received more than 3,000 unconfirmed complaints of sudden acceleration in Toyotas, including some dating to early last decade, according to a report the agency compiled in March. The incidents include 75 fatal crashes involving 93 deaths.
-Kate Linebaugh contributed to this article.

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