A Resource List on NHTSA Fines, Recalls, and Reform

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RegBlog’s go-to source for learning more about recent auto safety concerns.

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Ninety percent of Americans travel to work by car. In doing so, they rely on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to provide for the safety of motor vehicles and highways. However, after automaker General Motors (GM) reported an ignition switch defect that went undetected for over a decade, the Department of Transportation issued an audit report bringing to light problems with the agency’s defects investigation process and calling for reform. Both automakers and NHTSA have faced criticism over recently emerging defects, and a variety of groups and individuals have put forth varied and sometimes conflicting proposals for how to move forward.

The Regulatory Review has compiled the following set of resources for learning about the history of the GM switch defect, the response of various government entities, and next steps.


Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General’s Audit Report

Department of Transportation: NHTSA’s Path Forward

NHTSA: Workforce Assessment

House Committee on Energy and Commerce: Committee Report

GM Events:

NPR: timeline of history of GM’s ignition switch defect

New York Times: “Who Knew What When”

CBS News: Video explaining the defect

Detroit Free Press: NHTSA states Audit Report “triggered change”

The Detroit News: GM approves three new death claims to 124

Other Recalls and Fines:

NHTSA: U.S. DOT announces Fiat Chrysler enforcement action

NHTSA: U.S. DOT Fines Honda $70 million for Failing to Comply with Laws That Safeguard the Public

New York Times: U.S. Agency Sets Fines for Takata

Justice Department: Announces Criminal Charge Against Toyota Motor Corporation and Deferred Prosecution Agreement with $1.2 Billion Financial Penalty


The New Yorker: The Engineer’s Lament, Malcolm Gladwell

USA Today Editorial Board: Congress must help NHTSA turn car safety around

Car and Driver: Why NHTSA Is More Defective Than the Defects It Investigates, Clifford Atiyeh

Automotive News: Fixing NHTSA’s flaws is not NHTSA’s job alone

Consumer Reports: 4 Reasons Why the New Auto-Safety Bill Doesn’t Do Enough to Protect Americans

New York Times: Weak Oversight, Deadly Cars, Clarence Ditlow, Executive Director of Center for Auto Safety, and Ralph Nader, former presidential candidate

Background Academic Papers:

Do Auto Recalls Benefit the Public? Kevin McDonald, George Washington University and Volkswagen (2009)

Regulatory Dysfunction: How Insufficient Resources, Outdated Laws, and Political Interference Cripple the ‘Protector Agencies;’ Rena I Steinzor, University of Maryland, and Sidney Shaprio, Wake Forest University (2009)

Costly External Finance, Regulatory Regime, and the Strategic Timing of Vehicle Recalls; Sudipto Dasguptsa, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Jin Xie, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (2015)

This resource list is the third installment of a three-part series, Getting Defective Vehicles Off the Road.