The U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT) has criticized the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for failing to protect consumers from deadly auto defects. Among the auto defects mentioned by the DoT are faulty General Motors (GM) ignition switches, which have killed an estimated 119 people and injured another 243.
One of the NHTSA’s chief responsibilities is oversight of the automotive industry and setting standards for product safety. The NHTSA has been accused by the DoT of lacking both the expertise and data to perform its duties. In addition to accusations of lacking competence, the DoT claims the NHTSA has been slow to push back against automobile manufacturers that have dodged questions about defects.
Although the DoT has claimed the NHTSA is poorly managed, it is has called on Congress to provide additional funding for the organization. Additionally, in a recent report to the Senate, the DoT listed 17 recommendations for improving the NHTSA. Congress has reportedly asked for reforms before additional funding could be provided.
Are Auto Defects A Serious Threat To Consumer Safety?
GM’s faulty ignition switches are inexcusable if the auto manufacturer knew of the defect and waited to issue a recall. However, other auto companies have been the target of recent recalls. The Takata air bag recall has become the largest in U.S. history, and 11 auto manufacturers have been affected.
Recently, an eighth person died due to the defective Takata air bags. Transportation officials have run out of patience with companies that release products capable of injuring or killing American consumers. Defective automobiles and parts have not only led to numerous recalls, but also wrongful death claims, personal injury lawsuits and settlements.
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