"It's no longer reasonable frankly to expect an office with 8 screeners and 16 defects investigators to adequately analyze 75,000 complaints a year," said Foxx to The Detroit News. The secretary is backing President Obama's proposed budget that would triple the ODI's annual funding to $31 million from $10.7 million currently. Some of that money would go to hiring additional specialists, including a mathematician, two statisticians, 16 engineers and four investigators. The agency also wants to improve its data analysis to find vehicle flaws sooner.
A report last year found the ODI to be critically under employed. The office had 51 total workers, which included 28 specifically to investigate defects. Under the proposed budget the investigative team would eventually grow to 56.5 full-time equivalent positions, according to The Detroit News.
Foxx and new NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind are also pushing to increasing the maximum fine on automakers that delay recalls to $300 million from the current $35 million. However, neither the proposed increased budget nor the higher penalties are yet ratified, and the financial plan faces a lot of debate in Congress before it ever reaches the President Obama's desk.