Today is the big day of the Congressional investigation of the ignition switch recall. So how is it going?
Not well, it seems. In particular is the charge from a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) official that the agency had no knowledge in the link between faulty ignition switches and airbag non-deployments. “GM had critical information that would have helped identify this defect,” said David Friedman.
However, former NHTSA administrator Joan Claybrook took her former employer to task yesterday, saying, “NHTSA has fallen into a bureaucratic quagmire that it uses to avoid opening investigations and determining safety defects while people are dying unnecessarily on the highway … It is past time for NHTSA to put the public first in its safety defect decisions.” The NHTSA has been faulted for not fully looking into the issue, as they concluded in 2007 that there wasn’t enough evidence to press for an investigation.
Says Friedman, “We believe our defects investigation program and recalls process has functioned extremely well over the years in identifying defects that create unreasonable risks and ensuring that recalls occur whenever appropriate. Even so, we continually seek ways to improve.”
Stay with GM Authority for more testimony from Washington as it happens.