Is NHTSA Really Prejudiced or Being Influenced by Detroit, Politics, & Bureaucratic Power Grabs?

car-fireWhat’s the Situation? There are some things that you just do not want to think – or believe.  But with what and how NHTSA keeps doing & did almost unchallenged under LaHood – and now Strickland – one has to wonder.

There are recalls almost every day and investigations of cars and companies that do not seem to be warranted – recalls that seem to lack balance, judgment, and analysis.

Most Recently, the Tesla fires: Here is another example where one has to question, wonder, and even believe that NHTA is sometimes NUTSA – if not just plain out of control. Going after Tesla is the latest reason to wonder about the judgment, purpose, and management of NHTSA: do the Tesla car fires – all three of them – warrant NHTSA’s splash in the media?

Was Toyota Really Treated Fairly and Without Prejudice? The biggest case for wondering about their judgment or even their politics was the witch hunt mentality and approach that Ray LaHood took that led the NHTSA team in seeking to literally destroy Toyota with accusations, innuendos, and releases that seem so prejudicial toward Toyota that one found oneself being almost unsympathetic to each claim of unintentional acceleration.  As journalists, many of us said the Toyota was getting a bad rap. Particularly when case after case involved a Toyota or Lexus vehicle revealed that Toyota and its vehicle technology were not to blame for accidents involving Toyota vehicles.

Cases, Big Money, and Manipulation for Trial Lawyers: NHTSA actually seemed to enable a whole bunch of ambulance chasing lawyers to bring lawsuits against Toyota and then claim most of money almost extorted from the settled cases before the got to trial. Basically, because it seemed that Toyota leadership decided it was less costly in money and reputation to just settle instead of fighting the claims, particularly in cases where the claimant or passengers were injured or even killed as result the driver performance not issues with the Toyota vehicle. Toyota just settled and went on with valor and integrity.

Domestics Catch Fire But No Heat: Every day, a Ford, or GM or Chrysler vehicle is involved in a crash where a fire breaks out and the occupants are injured, burned, or killed. Does NHTSA do anything about these fires, deaths, and responsibility? Hundreds of car fire incidents and nothing is said or publically investigated. Elon Musk remained cool if the face of what seems like an outright injustice.

Fords on Fire: See the “Ford recalls nearly 390,000 vehicles in U.S. for fire risk” report in the Los Angeles Times in June of this year and then wonder why the big deal about 3 Tesla battery fires ignited under a controlled situation

If one were to look into just how NHTSA is funded, how it is managed, and just how it is operated, it would likely open some eyes. To say the vehicle accident review process is flawed and that the NHTSA actions are not fair and balanced would be a conclusion for any citizen, congress person, newspaper, or independent agency to at least speculate.

Is NHTSA in the pocket of the U.S. Detroit based OEMs?  One can aggregate a large body of cases to verify and document such a conclusion.  Under Ray LaHood, he and his team would almost stonewall questions from journalists about the Toyota fiasco or the outright favoritism exhibiting by the management and communications of vehicle recalls. The AIN Media team made an attempt a year ago and got only a lot of verbiage and denial on video.

If in doubt, hit the Recall Button: It is almost as if NTSHA is out to get electric vehicles and new technology for starters. Where is Big Oil in all of this? And further to stymy Toyota so that it would not take any more market share from GM and Ford? So could it be the Detroit OEMs, Big Oil, and political self interest groups acting through and with an agency that is supposed to be independent, balanced and fair?

One might just guess again and wonder. Meanwhile, confidence and trust are waning.

Is NHTSA Out of Control?  Can we “recall” a time when NHTSA seemed to be “recalling” everything and every make?  Will time and some more investigatory journalism like the work of the distinguished Detroit based automotive journalist, Paul Eisenstein begin to show that  NHTSA is maybe like another government agency of late – say NSA? See and heed Paul’s research and perspective in his blog.

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