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.

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