Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Vacation season -- perfect time for NHTSA to deny Toyota sudden acceleration defect petition by electrical engineer Dr. Gopal Raghavan

NHTSA goes to the beach and enjoys the plentiful sand.

In mid-June, Dr. Raghavan submitted a defect investigation petition to NHTSA for low-speed unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles.

This week, in a stunning departure from its usual slow response, NHTSA denied the petition for some reason or other (in all likelihood, manufactured reasons supplied by Toyota). Perfect timing during the Great National Vacation Season. The general public is generally at the beach.

What's worse, the petition denial notice was withdrawn from public inspection at NHTSA's request.

A few days ago it said this:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Denial of Motor Vehicle Defect Petition
AGENCY: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA), DOT.
ACTION: Denial of a petition for a defect investigation.
SUMMARY: This notice sets forth the reasons for denying a petition submitted to NHTSA,
49 U.S.C. 30162, 49 CFR part 552, requesting that the agency open “an investigation into l
owspeed surging in different models of Toyota automobiles in which the car starts accelerating
and the engine RPM increases even when the accelerator pedal is not depressed.”
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Stephen McHenry, Vehicle Control Division,
Office of Defects Investigation, NHTSA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20590.
This document is scheduled to be published in the
Federal Register on 08/18/2015 and available online at


It seems like the denial was shown and then quickly withdrawn from public view.
Why don't Toyota owners, taxpayers, and all interested parties get to see it any more?

Someone who cares managed to copy some of the defect petition denial. It ends as follows, with the usual NHTSA "natural fertilizer" that relies on past mistakes to justify current mistakes:

                                                                                                                               “ ... Therefore,
given a thorough analysis of the potential for finding a safety related defect in the vehicle, and in
view of NHTSA’s enforcement priorities, its previous investigations into this issue, and the need
to allocate and prioritize NHTSA’s limited resources to best accomplish the agency’s safety
mission and mitigate risk, the petition is denied. This action does not constitute a finding by
NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist. The agency will take further action if
warranted by future circumstances.”