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Gov't: No conclusions yet in Toyota acceleration case

WASHINGTON - The government said Wednesday it had not reached any conclusions about whether Toyota drivers may be to blame for their vehicles suddenly accelerating, a problem that has led to millions of recalled cars and trucks since last year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement its engineers were continuing to investigate the possible causes of sudden acceleration in Toyotas along with scientists and researchers with the National Academy of Scientists and NASA.

The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous sources, reported Tuesday that the government had analyzed dozens of event data recorders, or black boxes, in Toyota vehicles involved in crashes blamed on unintended acceleration and found the throttles were open and the brakes were not engaged. That would suggest the drivers were stepping on the gas pedal instead of the brakes.

Transportation Department spokeswoman Olivia Alair said government investigators had "drawn no conclusions and released no data. We will follow the facts and inform the public when our investigation comes to an end."

Toyota has recalled more than 8.5 million vehicles worldwide since last fall due to faulty accelerators, floor mats that can entrap gas pedals and brake problems in Prius hybrids. The Japanese automaker has sought to address problems with unintended acceleration by fixing the gas pedals.

The government has said unintended acceleration in Toyotas may have been involved in the deaths of 93 people in the past decade. - AP

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