The U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General (DOT IG) sent a report to Congress today that found lax management of the National Highway Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) vehicle safety recall process.
The audit was requested by Congress in 2015 to address concerns raised by lawmakers over the agency’s handling of the Takata airbag recall, which has affected 37 million vehicles and been linked to as many as 15 deaths and over 200 injuries in the United States. In addition to the Takata recall, NHTSA more recently has come under fire from lawmakers for its slow response to several other serious safety defects, including spontaneous non-collision fires in Hyundai and Kia vehicles and carbon monoxide-related deaths in vehicles with keyless ignition.
“This is further evidence that the federal auto safety regulator isn’t doing enough to protect the public,” said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee that oversees NHTSA. “The inspector general made six recommendations to fix the recall process at NHTSA and Ms. King declined to fully comply with half of them. That’s more than enough reason why the Senate should not allow her to head the agency.”
NHTSA Deputy Administrator Heidi King is currently awaiting confirmation from the Senate to become the head of the agency. Nelson voted against her nomination in a vote taken by the Commerce Committee in June and plans to oppose her when her nomination reaches the Senate floor.
Click here to read the DOT IG’s report.