While General Motors has gotten most of the blame in the ignition switch fiasco, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) isn't getting away scot free. The New York Times reports that the Department of Transportation released two internal documents revealing a series of failings by NHTSA.
One of those failings was the administration not paying sufficient attention to a Wisconsin state trooper’s report in 2007 which suggested that the ignition switch played a key role in a fatal accident. The reports go on to say that NHTSA didn't use their full power to hold GM accountable in terms of this problem.
“There needs to be a complete overhaul of this failing agency. The results of this report are long overdue,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).
NHTSA has begun to make a number of changes in light of these reports. They include,
- Put manufacturers “on notice” about potential defects as soon they identified any troubling cases.
- Institute a 'Risk Control' program that better aligns different sections of NHTSA and encourage more sharing
- Be monitored by a group of outside experts including former officials of the National Transportation Safety Board and NASA
“The G.M. experience changed the culture here. What that means is challenge the information you’re getting, and challenge the assumptions you are pursuing,” said NHTSA administrator Mark R. Rosekind.
Still some people believe NHTSA needs to go farther.
“It still soft-pedals why they have gone from one defect crisis to another,” said Sean E. Kane of the consulting firm Safety Research and Strategies. “What is missing is any mention of the importance of transparency.”
Source: The New York Times