Senate subcommittee holds hearing on NHTSA

Senate subcommittee holds hearing on NHTSA

The Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection this week is holding a hearing on the future of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the wake of the agencyês handling of the General Motors recall.

Witnesses will include NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman, an inspector general from the Department of Transportation, Robert Strassburger from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and representatives from two safety groups.

Subcommittee chairman Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and member Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) faulted NHTSAês handling of the GM recall in interviews with the Detroit News, saying the agency was not aggressive enough.

There has been some discussion of substantially increasing NHTSAês budget and staffing. NHTSA has said it wants to increase the maximum fine for automakers that delay recalls from $35 million to $300 million.

McCaskill has introduced a bill that would make it easier for prosecutors to file criminal charges against automakers. Automaker executives who knowingly cause a personês death could be subject to life in prison.

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