The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is the federal agency most directly tasked with ensuring that American roads remain safe for travelers. This agency concerns itself with preventing motor vehicle accidents and with ensuring that those which do occur are neither fatal nor devastatingly injurious. One of the ways in which the NHTSA acts in furtherance of this mission is by investigating consumer-related safety complaints. If these complaints meet certain criteria and it seems that a given model or part could potentially cause harm to the public, the NHTSA may insist that the model or part’s manufacturer initiate a safety recall.
We have previously written about the recent defect scandal involving General Motors. Essentially, individuals employed by the auto giant were aware that a defective ignition switch was being installed in models for a full decade. At no point during these ten years did GM notify the public, notify federal regulators or replace the potentially deadly switches. Instead, it continued to install the switches in newer models.