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Audit: NHTSA’s auto defect screening procedures are insufficient

Defective products result in a great number of injuries and deaths to consumers nationwide. This is especially true of auto defects. Serious defects in the parts that keep a car running safely can have devastating effects for the Nashville residents who drive them. For this reason, it is vital that the authorities in charge of finding, reporting and recalling serious auto defects are properly trained in their jobs.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are under scrutiny by government officials after allegations that the NHTSA’s training and analysis methods are insufficient. In an audit regarding last year’s recalls of General Motors’ faulty ignition switches, the U.S. Department of Transportation inspector general claimed the NHTSA’s safety data screeners are improperly trained and overloaded with work. The purpose of the screening department is to collect and analyze safety data to look for trends before too many people are injured by a car defect.

The audit suggested that the NHTSA’s screening methods focus on a small number of broad defect codes, rather than ask detailed questions that could more effectively pinpoint defect trends. It was also determined that about 90 percent of consumer complaints regarding potential defects were set aside, rather than be properly addressed. The inspector general also told the NHTSA’s administrator that the agency did not have a sufficient base case to compare possible defect problems.

The NHTSA’s administrator said that the agency would take these suggestions seriously and implement them in further screening processes for auto defects. If so, this may be a step in the right direction to prevent more consumers from suffering serious injury or death.

Source: USA Today, "DOT audit blasts NHTSA for car safety analysis failures," Chris Woodyard, June 22, 2015

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