Following the turmoil of General Motors’ ignition switch recall, not only was it evident of a communications break down within GM, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration puts blame on itself for not listening to drivers more carefully.
According to The Detroit Free Press, the NHTSA admits to past mistakes and pledged “new action.” The administration says it will increase its investigations, be more diligent with plaintiff’s lawyers and question problems raised by automakers and its own personnel more frequently.
This increased diligence comes after the NHTSA received vague answers on if the airbags would still deploy during an accident, should the ignition switch fall into accessory, or cut engine power. General Motors and the NHTSA admit neither party had a clear understanding, and assumed, initially, the air bags would indeed deploy.
Unfortunately, as we’ve seen regarding the most recent death toll numbers, that is not the case.
Even after the NHTSA opened the investigation and found its original understanding was incorrect, that information was not shared across all sectors of the agency. NHTSA Administrator, Mark Rosekind, has said no one has been fired after these circumstances, saying no one person should be blamed rather, collectively, everyone was at fault.
Based on two internal reports, the NHTSA will request 380 new employees and $90 million in additional spending from Congress. It has yet to be seen if this request will be granted. But, the NHTSA says it will be implementing new measures regardless of an increase in its budget, detailed in a 24-page documented titled “NHTSA Path Forward.”
With a few hundred more cases to sort through, the GM ignition-switch fiasco is slowly coming to a close and, as the NHTSA has detailed, it will only increase its involvement in any manufacturer related issue.
But, let’s hope automakers have learned from past mistakes, after the 2000s was scattered with some of the largest recalls the industry has ever seen.