Tag: ODI

By on November 14, 2011

Remember the uproar over Unintended Acceleration in Toyotas? After more than a year of investigation, NHTSA has yet to find a definitive cause for the furor… although the experience was not an entire waste. In fact, the most interesting result of the entire situation was that it cast light on NHTSA’s inefficacy as much as it did embarrass Toyota’s quality control. And to help clarify what exactly the lessons of the Toyota flap were, the DOT’s Inspector General has released a report detailing its criticisms of the federal safety regulators. According to the report [PDF], NHTSA’s Office of Defect Investigation (ODI) has not

  • Adequately tracked or documented pre-investigation activities.
  • Established a systematic process for determining when to involve third-party or Vehicle Research and Test Center (VRTC) assistance
  • Followed timeliness goals for completing investigations or fully implemented its redaction policy to ensure consumers’ privacy. [Ed: gee, you think?]
  • Established a complete and transparent record system with documented support for decisions that significantly affect its investigations.
  • Developed a formal training program to ensure staff has the necessary skills and expertise.

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By on April 9, 2010

NHTSA’s head of Defect Investigation will step down, according to the Wall Street Journal [sub]. Kathleen DeMeter has been with NHTSA for 30 years and spent 15 years in her current position. According to DOT officials, DeMeter “delayed her retirement in order to assist the agency during the recent Toyota recall crisis,” but at 60 years of age, it’s just as likely that she is NHTSA’s first casualty of the Toyota investigation fallout. After all, the Secretary doesn’t like having to explain to congress why his investigators only have two electrical engineers. An interim head of Defect Investigation will be named, while NHTSA searches for a permanent replacement… who wants to bet it’s going to be an engineer?

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