Process Improvements Are Needed for Identifying and Addressing Vehicle Safety Defects
On October 6, 2011, we issued a report on NHTSA's oversight of vehicle safety. We found that NHTSA followed its established procedures in investigating unintended acceleration (UA) issues for Toyota and other manufacturers and that UA-issues affected multiple vehicles manufacturers. Also, despite NASA's validation of ODI's investigative results for the Toyota UA-related cases, we found process improvements are needed for identifying and addressing vehicle safety defects. Finally, ODI's processes are well respected internationally, but its limited information sharing and coordination with foreign countries reduced opportunities to identify safety defects or recalls in an increasingly global automobile industry. We made ten recommendations to enhance ODI's processes and increase coordination with foreign countries. NHTSA fully or partially concurred with all of our recommendations. We consider NHTSA's planned actions to address our first eight recommendations sufficient but open, pending completion of the planned action. We requested NHTSA provide additional information on recommendations nine and ten.