June 10, 2014
The Center for Auto Safety today released a letter to DOT Inspector General Calvin L. Scovell, III based on a 6 month study of NHTSA’s failure to investigate the GM ignition switch. The study found multiple sources of information that NHTSA failed to use to open an investigation. In 2004-05, NHTSA had a series of secret meetings and communications on vehicle stalling with GM including vehicle tests and demonstrations at GM’s Milford Proving Grounds from which GM came away with the belief that 20,000 to 30,000 stalling incidents each year in a fleet of 3 million vehicles was just a customer inconvenience.
CAS Executive Director Clarence Ditlow said.
Never has a regulatory agency had so much information on such a lethal defect and done so little to protect the public. People died because GM concealed the defect and NHTSA failed to act. The secret meetings and vehicle demonstrations for NHTSA officials on stalling should never have occurred. If it involves people’s lives as the GM ignition switch scandal and other stalling recalls did, such meetings and tests must be done in the open, not behind closed doors and guards at the test track. Sadly, NHTSA has become an agency of, by and for the auto industry.
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