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NHTSA under fire for inaction concerning GM’s air bag problems

Posted on Friday, November 7th, 2014   

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is having to answer for its failure to recall GM’s Chevy Cobalt and Saturn Ion for air bag defects, according to a report from safetyresearch.net.

Critics were outraged to discover that the NHTSA did not issue a recall after the air bags failed to deploy in at least 43 accidents, resulting in 27 injuries and four deaths since the first incident was reported in 2005. Earlier this year, David Friedman, NHTSA Acting Administrator, stated at a House Committee on Energy and Commerce meeting that there was no reason to issue a recall because there was not a statistically significant rate of air bag malfunction compared to other manufacturers.

A recent analysis, however, shows that the agency was considering Chevy and Saturn as individual entities, rather than all under GM; if compiled under their parent company, incidence of complaints do become statistically significant, revealing a 54% higher reported rate of air bag failure compared to other automakers.

Protesters are outraged that another potentially fatal auto defect was concealed from the public for so long. Some believe that the NHTSA’s fierce defense is due to concerns about defending their reputation after the GM ignition switch debacle.

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