Failures at NHTSA, Tragedies Continue
The NY Times has an excellent article on the forthcoming DOT IG Report on NHTSA failures.
“Even as evidence poured into the nation’s top auto safety agency pointing to dangerous defects in millions of vehicles, regulators repeatedly failed for years to root out problems and hold carmakers accountable, according to a long-awaited internal audit by the Transportation Department.
The bluntly worded report, ordered last year after General Motors began recalling 2.6 million cars with a defective ignition switch, paints a bleak portrait of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agency charged with overseeing safety in the auto industry.
The agency had weak management, undertrained staff and insufficient processes in place to properly review safety data submitted by automakers and complaints submitted by drivers, the report by the Transportation Department’s inspector general found. Repeatedly, investigators missed opportunities to identify that the ignition switch was prone to turn off, shutting down the engine and disabling systems like power steering and the airbags. At least 114 deaths have been linked to the defect. And the agency’s shortcomings extended to other problems as well.
Ultimately, the report said, the agency’s systemic failings “deter N.H.T.S.A. from successfully meeting the mandate to help prevent crashes and their attendant costs, both human and financial.””