Auto Safety Authority Asleep at the Wheel?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is responsible for protecting the driving public through education, research, the creation of safety standards and the enforcement of existing rules. It is a key agency at the Department of Transportation when it comes to keeping the manufacturers of cars, trucks, and auto parts in line. 

In addition, it is supposed to implement safety rules set down in new laws designed to save lives. Unfortunately, the NHTSA has a growing reputation for inaction. In several cases, laws passed years ago are still waiting for the agency to begin enforcement. 

According to the AP, more than a dozen auto safety laws are stuck in limbo while the NHTSA fails to act.

A Leadership Problem

One issue that may be impacting the NHTSA is a failure to establish a clear hierarchy. The Senate is supposed to confirm the NHTSA administrator. The last time that happened was during the Obama administration. One of the deputy administrators has been serving as acting administrator since 2017.

A Motivation Problem

As with many government agencies, the NHTSA has been accused of pandering to the people they are supposed to be regulating. People who leave the NHTSA often do so for lucrative jobs in the transportation industry. 

It is fair to question whether a regulator who is hoping for a job at GM is likely to hold them accountable for safety lapses. The revolving door between auto companies and the agency responsible for making sure they uphold safety standards needs to be addressed.

A Focus Problem

Some groups believe that the NHTSA is dedicating its time and attention to the wrong safety issues. Car accidents are on the rise, despite people driving less during the pandemic. 

This sharp increase in traffic fatalities has been met with a plan to change fuel economy requirements in an effort to address climate change. Fuel efficiency is important, but it does nothing to protect people dying in car crashes every day.

The Power to Act

The NHTSA has an annual budget of more than $1B. It has 600+ full-time employees. It has broad authority to take action to improve the safety of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. The NHTSA has what it needs to help prevent deadly car and truck accidents. It just needs to use that power effectively.

Talk to an Attorney About Your Car or Truck Accident

If you or a loved one suffered an auto accident, you need legal help right away. Schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer at Ted B. Lyon & Associates in Dallas. Call us at 866-503-4864or send us a message.