According to a new report from The Detroit News, there are some big problems with the group many think has their back when it comes to car safety.
Do you feel comfortable and cuddly every time the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issues a recall? If so, you might want to think again.
Reportedly, a 42-page report from the Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General offers a scathing look at systematic failures that would put the “Old GM” to shame. It makes sense, considering that NHTSA didn’t discover the big GM ignition switch problem for a decade before doing anything about it, among other bobbled safety issues.
There are all kinds of juicy details in the report, says The Detroit News. One of the most interesting is the fact that complaints submitted by members of the public are essentially ignored. One person takes literally seconds each day to go through submissions from consumers, not even bothering to read 90 percent of them. That, of course, has resulted in missed opportunities to catch and correct legitimate safety issues early.
For example, one instance had to do with GM vehicle owners complaining that their airbags didn’t deploy during a wreck. NHTSA actually passed on opening a formal investigation back in 2007, even though there was evidence that it could be a serious problem. Instead, a single person was assigned to “keep an eye” on the issue. When that person left NHTSA about a year later, nobody took responsibility and the issue was dropped entirely.
In the report are a number of recommendations about what NHTSA can and should do differently. While the White House thinks that Congress should increase the NHTSA budget to bring in more staff, the inspector general thinks the bigger problem is improper training. After all, throwing more people and money at a situation doesn’t always fix things. The report also points out that the system for deciding when to investigate vehicle defects is itself defective.
This kind of news is something that Americans should be furious over, instead of the latest Kardashian gossip. People have died as a result of bobbled NHTSA investigations, and someone needs to answer for that.