By on February 6, 2015


U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said on Tuesday the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration needs more staffing to keep pace with recalls.

The Detroit News reports the secretary said as much during a brief conference call, asking for 56.5 new full-time positions and 57 people to keep up with the recalls:

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.

With the proposal from President Barack Obama’s FY 2016 budget plan that would triple funding of the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation from $10.7 million to $31 million, the agency could bring aboard a mathematician, two statisticians, four investigators and 16 engineers to help fill the staffing gaps currently in play. Total staffing would climb above 100 personnel.

Additionally, the NHTSA would be able to use stronger methods of data mining and monitoring to develop a consumer awareness campaign to encourage owners to have their vehicles repaired, using integrated information pulled from social media, accident and fatality reports, medical records and manufacturing data to identify potential issues.

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11 Comments on “Foxx: NHTSA Needs Staffing Increase To Keep Pace With Recalls...”

  • avatar

    It must really suck to be in one of those cars right now…driving…looking at the airbag…not knowing whether or not today will be the day it explodes in your face… for no reason at all…

  • avatar

    This one is easy. Crank up the fines and fund the NHTSA more. Fine manufacturers for ALL recalls on a per unit per safety risk scale. Money will make them think next time about cutting a corner. All manufacturers are put on the same level playing field which ANY industry appreciates.

    • 0 avatar

      A more likely result would be that OEMs would resist issuing any recall notice.

      We need to strike a balance between encouraging compliance and punishing wrongdoing. The “we’ll punish every violation, regardless” approach simply encourages companies that make a mistake to do their utmost to deny it or cover it up.

      I once worked from a company that was contracted to provide regulatory administration (including prosecution) on an outsource basis. We developed a very successful voluntary compliance program, so companies that screwed up could come forward and tell us what they’d done. If it was simply a mistake, we’d work with them to get them back in compliance and they wouldn’t be prosecuted.

      A different government department came to talk to us about this program. they were very proud of their “zero tolerance” policy, and had also implemented a voluntary compliance program. The way they did it, a company coming forward voluntarily would first be convicted and fined, then they would work with them on compliance. I asked them how many companies had come forward under this program, the answer was “zero”. Quelle surprise!

  • avatar

    More staffing needed to keep up with more recalls.

    Sounds like a self-licking ice cream cone to me.

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