"NHTSA officials told investigators that the agency doesn't employ any electrical engineers or software engineers."
So says The Washington Post, in a revelation that's at least shocking if nothing else. Consider your car for a moment. How many electrical connections and silicon bits are there making the whole kit-n'-kaboodle operate? Plenty, right? In fact, The Car Connection estimates that the average "modern luxury car has something close to 100 million lines of software code in it, running on 70 to 100 microprocessors." Though the quote about the government safety agency came out in the government hearings on Toyota safety, that figures to be worrisome news to all motorists, as modern vehicles from all manufacturers are more or less rolling computers, and their very movement is governed by computers that NHTSA apparently cannot begin to analyze – at least internally.
Hopefully, the report regarding the lack of electrical and software engineers at NHTSA was either misunderstood or incorrect. We have a feeling that's likely the case – in fact, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in his testimony on Capitol Hill today that the agency does at least have access to such engineers.
UPDATE: During today's remarks, LaHood said there was some confusion in his comments yesterday about a lack of electrical engineers. He has yet to divulge how many engineers NHTSA employs and there's still some question about software engineers. Updates to follow as we learn more.
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[Sources: The Washington Post, The Car Connection | Image: Alex Wong/Getty Images]