Now, it’s NHTSA under fire

Lawmakers blast failures in GM crisis, want reform

WASHINGTON — In a rare display of consensus here, Republicans, Democrats and safety advocates are coming to the conclusion that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is in dire need of reform — even if they can’t convince the agency of that.

Seven months after General Motors’ ignition-switch issue erupted into a full-blown safety crisis — triggering several investigations of the company along with sweeping internal changes to safety protocols and personnel — NHTSA is taking its turn in the hot seat, facing tough questions about its past and its ability to effectively police auto safety.

Last week saw NHTSA hit by an onslaught of criticism, including articles in The New York Times detailing years of lapses by the agency, a blistering report from the House committee investigating the GM debacle and a Senate grilling Wednesday that zeroed in on regulators’ failures to recognize and respond to deadly safety defects.

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