Auto Safety At Risk During Government Shutdown
Many of those who question the value of government oversight and regulation got a rude wakeup call this week when agencies we regularly rely on for our health and safety as a nation ceased to function. Among the shutdown of myriad federal government services is the shuttering of crucial auto safety programs and consumer access to a vast database of important automotive information.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has had to furlough more than half of its nearly 600 employee workforce. That means that consumers with car defect complaints and concerns are unable to contact NHTSA through its website, recalls are in limbo, critical safety investigations are on hold, and NHTSA Director David Strickland has had to cancel numerous public engagements. "Outrageous," declared former NHTSA Administrator Joan Claybrook, adding that the House of Representatives actions were “essentially ignoring the safety risks of millions of motorists on the road every day.”
By prior arrangement, NHSTA normally contacts this author regularly with current recall and investigation notices. Some of these advisories provide information that is posted periodically on this blog. This week, that channel of communication from NHTSA has been completely silent.
Automakers themselves are frustrated and concerned. The longer the shutdown extends, the greater the safety problems we can expect, and the greater the expected damage to the auto industry as a whole. For more information, read this story in The Detroit News