Washington, D.C. – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced two major investigations designed to answer questions surrounding the issue of unintended vehicle acceleration.

The independent National Academy of Sciences will examine the broad subject of unintended acceleration and electronic vehicle controls across the entire automotive industry. The 15-month investigation will look at vehicles from all manufacturers, and the panel will make recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on how its rulemaking, research and defect investigation activities may help ensure the safety of electronic control systems in motor vehicles.

Separately, NHTSA has enlisted NASA engineers with expertise in areas such as computer-controlled electronic systems and software integrity to look at unintended vehicle acceleration in Toyota vehicles. This review will be completed by the summer of 2010.

Both studies will be peer reviewed by scientific experts. The total cost is expected to come to approximately US$3 million, including the cost of purchasing cars that have allegedly experienced unintended acceleration to be studied.

“We are determined to get to the bottom of unintended acceleration,” LaHood said. “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 has also asked the Department of Transportation Inspector General to review whether NHTSA’s Office of Defect Investigation has the necessary resources and systems to identify and address safety defects as it moves forward.

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