Five months after the top official at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration promised to reform the federal agency charged with keeping motorists safe, it remains mired in dysfunction and inaction.
NHTSA's incompetence played a role in allowing the General Motors ignition switch crisis to go undetected for years.
A report from the House Energy and Commerce committee released Tuesday found that NHTSA's incompetence played a role in allowing the General Motors ignition switch crisis to go undetected for years, and says that the agency continues to lag behind in its efforts to improve its performance.
"There is no evidence, at least publicly, that anything has changed at the agency," the report said. "No one has been held accountable and no substantial changes have been made. NHTSA and its employees admit they made mistakes but the lack of urgency in identifying and resolving those shortcomings raises questions about the agency's commitment to learning from this recall."
Following the release of the report, David Friedman, now NHTSA's deputy administrator, appeared before a Senate committee investigating the agency's role in the deadly GM problem. Senators wanted to know how the agency missed warning signs and failed to appreciate critical pieces of information in a decade-long string of missteps and missed opportunities that prolonged discovery of an ignition-switch defect responsible for killing at least 19 motorists.