US: federal regulators under scrutiny for GM recall role image

The auto safety regulators have been confronted by US legislators in the latest Senate hearing involving the recall of 2.6 million GM cars equipped with defective ignition switches.

General Motors has been panned for the failure to recall for more than a decade the cars that posed a serious safety threat, and the latest Senate subcommittee hearing on the matter concentrated this time on the way the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration acted on the matter.

Following a House committee report released earlier yesterday before the hearing, Senator Claire McCaskill, the chairman, questioned NHTSA’s failure to see the signs of trouble and its decision not to prompt the automaker into a recall earlier.

“That reflects obviously on an agency that is perhaps more interested in singing kumbaya with the manufacturers than being a cop on the beat,” McCaskill said.

The report also stated that while GM’s fault in concealing the issue is undeniable, the signs for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to see were there: complaints from customers that had trouble from the defect as well as accidents with injuries and deaths.

David Friedman, acting administrator for the NHTSA defended the agency, calling GM’s information mishandling into question, as the investigators sent by the regulator were denied critical information access.

Via Reuters