The US auto safety regulator opted to showcase a “mea culpa” stance recently in regards to the fatal General Motors ignition switch recall scandal and has said it was introducing a new strategy to aggressively ensure any future car safety defects will not go unnoticed and untreated.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration acknowledged shortfalls in their investigation of the flawed GM ignition switches, today linked to more than one hundred death cases, as their officials missed first signs of the ignition switch issue – they didn’t understand enough about the technology and then went on without asking the carmaker to deliver exact event statistics. “GM’s responses often contained very little information and included invocations of legal privilege. Rather than push back and request more information, NHTSA analyzed the incomplete responses,” said the US regulator in an excerpt of one of two new reports in internal issues and plans to make changes. The new NHTSA administrator, Mark Rosekind, has also pledged to aggressively pursue the automakers and the new stance of the US auto safety official coincides with the regulator’s announcement that Japan’s Takata – and auto safety supplier – was making the largest single-product recall in US history.
The NHTSA has also intensified its scrutiny of the Takata defective airbags crisis and of the recall practices of the third largest US automaker – FCA US. GM’s defective ignition switches resulted in the recall of 2.6 million autos (and millions more in subsequent safety verification of other products), with the former recall also tied to 109 fatalities and more than 200 injuries.