NHTSA Office of Defects Investigation
On January 3, 2002, we issued our final report on NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation (ODI). The audit was initiated by a request from Senator John McCain, Ranking Minority Member of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, to ensure the timely implementation of the TREAD Act and improve ODI operations. We found that NHTSA has made progress in meeting TREAD Act requirements, but still faces challenges in fully implementing the act and improving its ability to identify potential safety defects. We recommended that NHTSA:
1. Issue regulations required under the TREAD Act in a timely manner;
2. Establish a peer review panel to ensure that data used to identify potential defects are thoroughly analyzed and investigations are opened and prioritized in a consistent manner, and identify techniques for collecting and analyzing defect information from a wider range of sources;
3. Obtain the services of an independent entity to validate and verify the progress of Volpe National Transportation Systems Center to develop a new defect database and reduce development risks, and ensure that the data being transferred to the new system is accurate and complete.
NHTSA concurred with our recommendations.