NHTSA has not suffered from the GM safety mayhem image

Since February, General Motors has been involved in one of the two major safety scandals in the automotive industry, with the automaker slapped for the mishandling of a deadly ignition switch defect.

Since then, the No.1 US carmaker has been involved in numerous lawsuits and faced five different investigations from the US federal authorities – with only one settled. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has fined the company the maximum allowed – $35 million. Actually, the federal safety agency is itself under scrutiny for failing to recognize earlier a safety flaw that claimed the lives of at least 13 persons.

“We and I are willing to check our own math here. I’ve asked our inspector general to go through and do an after-action on this GM situation to see if there is anything we didn’t do that we should have done,” says Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We will learn from that report, and until that time we have our team intact.”

So far, Foxx has disclosed that no disciplinary action was taken within the NHTSA and none of its employees were fired as a result of the way it handled the situation with GM’s 2.6 million vehicles ignition switch recall. After grilling the automaker and its senior officials, the ongoing investigations started by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Senate Commerce Committee plan to focus later this year on the NHTSA and its failure to connect the cases linked to the fatal flaw.