by David Morgan
The U.S. auto safety watchdog, long criticized as toothless and slow, is showing both bark and bite under its new boss – a testimony to his credentials as a safety expert and a hardening of the administration’s policy after a wave of deadly defects.
Having taken the helm of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in January, Mark Rosekind has wasted no time in forcing reluctant companies into recalling millions of defective vehicles. In doing so, he has shown greater willingness than some of his predecessors to use the government’s full legal powers over the industry, some for the first time.
In the past week alone, the agency announced the biggest recall in history, involving nearly 34 million vehicles with potentially deadly Takata Corp air bags. It also scheduled a rare public hearing to review Fiat Chrysler recalls involving 10 million vehicles and warned of potential multiple penalties that could total $700 million.