With the Takata airbag debacle still yet to be resolved, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found itself in hot water again. Parties both from within and from without the agency's ranks are asking hard questions about NHTSA's handling of the widespread recall, and now the agency's leadership will have to answer some of those hard questions.

Chief among the inquiring parties is Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI), who is calling agency administrators back in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that he chairs (and which also questioned the government agency over the GM ignition switch recalls) in an effort to determine if NHTSA has properly addressed the issue. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) may also invite NHTSA to brief the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and the White House has reportedly also instructed the Transportation Department to look into NHTSA's response.

The agency, which has been under the direction of deputy administrator David Friedman since his boss David Strickland stepped down in January, has been under criticism for its handling of the Takata issue. Although NHTSA issued a strongly worded advisory for owners of affected vehicles to have their airbags replaced post-haste, the website dedicated to informing the public of which vehicles are being recalled crashed and remained down for most of last week.

Dealers tasked with replacing the faulty airbags have not had the parts with which to complete the recall, leaving untold numbers of unsafe vehicles on the road and their owners with little recourse but to wait.


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