The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has come under fire for its actions concerning the recalls of GM vehicles with defective ignition switches and the vehicles containing Takata air bags. Critics have suggested that the NHTSA has moved too slowly or taken limited action in addressing serious auto defects. NHTSA leaders recently responded with a defense of the work done by the agency in furthering traffic safety.
In defending its record, the NHTSA points out that it has forced nearly 100 million recalls of defective vehicles and defective auto parts in the past decade. The administration also pointed out that it has leveled more than $55 million in fines in 2014 alone. Deputy administrator David Friedman reaffirmed the group's commitment to advancing safety and reducing traffic fatalities.
Mr. Friedman specifically referenced the Takata investigation. While the investigation is ongoing, the NHTSA has not yet concluded that the air bags are subject to failures in all regions. The risk has been found to occur in places where the temperature and humidity are frequently high. Takata has been ordered to expand its testing of the returned air bags to help the NHTSA determine which products are at an elevated risk for failure.
The regional recalls have been the subject of criticism in some circles. Reports of potentially defective Takata air bags trace back to 2004. The NHTSA first issued recall filings in 2008.Takata admitted the fault in 2013. The NHTSA's response has been labeled piecemeal and too slow by some legislators and safety experts.
Source: USA Today, "NHTSA: We've acted quickly, forcefully," by David Friedman, 9 November 2014