The US government shutdown drags on, and the NHTSA claimed Tuesday that it isn’t going to investigate any car defects until the shutdown is over and federal funding is back on track.
Key Functions Suspended
The NHTSA claimed in a statement recently that key functions of their agency must remain suspended until the funding returns. While they didn’t say which functions are suspended, any functions that are funded through the Highway Trust Fund are going to continue as normal. However, the agency’s essential tasks, such as car defect investigations, are on hold until the shutdown is relieved. Other functions can include field crash investigations, vehicle recall notifications, and defect notifications.
While significant functions are restricted and suspended, the agency has said that they are going to respond if an imminent threat caused by noncompliant or defective vehicles or equipment is brought to their attention. Therefore, if something is so severe that it can cause death, they are going to report it and respond accordingly.
While the NHTSA believes they are doing the best thing, many officials have claimed that their locked doors are a severe threat to American motorists’ safety. Joan Claybrook was the head of the organization during the Carter administration and believes that, while investigations can take years to complete, this government shutdown is just prolonging those major investigations. In fact, the organization had 13 investigations open and active that surrounded defects when the shutdown occurred in December. Their ultimate goal is to stay suspended until the government can strike a deal for funding.