A congressional report concludes that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had the needed information but didn’t act as quickly as it should have to catch the problem with faulty GM ignition switches. A Senate committee opens a hearing this afternoon on NHTSA oversight and policies. The House committee report cited a lack of agency knowledge and awareness of the safety systems it regulates.
Earlier, the top NHTSA official told the Detroit News that he met with a dozen auto industry executives and urged them to take defect issues more seriously. Deputy Administrator David Friedman said automakers were told there was zero tolerance for failing to find and fix defects and report them to his agency.
NHTSA is looking into latches on 2011-13 Ford Fiestas after receiving reports that doors did not close properly. Some owners said they used rope to secure doors on their cars. Ford said it is cooperating with the agency, according to the Detroit News.
A survey of 1,000 parents revealed that nine out of ten moved a child from a booster seat to a seat belt too soon. Safe Kids Worldwide said seven in ten did not know that a child should be at least 57 inches tall and between 80 and 100 pounds to ride in a car without a booster seat.
GM’s Opel division is cutting back operations at its plant in Russia to a single shift a day and is offering buyout packages to roughly 500 workers – all due to slow sales and weak currency.