DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION'S MOTOR VEHICLE DEFECT-TESTING PROCEDURES WERE REASONABLE--PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENTS OF POTENTIAL SAFETY DEFECTS COULD BE IMPROVED

The Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducts tests as part of its investigations to determine whether defects exist in motor vehicles that subject the public to unreasonable risks of accident, injury, or death. The Chairman, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, requested GAO to review NHTSA's defect-testing program and its investigation of a potential defect involving rear axle separation of General Motors' 1978-80 A-body cars and trucks. GAO found that NHTSA initiates its investigations of potential safety-related defects primarily as a result of consumer complaints. GAO also found that NHTSA's staff develops and conducts individualized defect tests when, in its professional judgment, such tests are necessary to help in determining whether a safety defect exists in motor vehicles. GAO believes that NHTSA's practices and procedures for identifying potential safety-related defects and conducting defect tests were reasonable. NHTSA followed its written guidelines in investigating rear axle separations involving General Motors' cars and trucks. However, GAO found that there were problems with NHTSA's announcement of its initial determination that a safety defect involving this problem existed in these vehicles. GAO makes a recommendation to improve NHTSA's future announcements of its initial safety defect determination. (Author)

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This paper was prepared by the Comptroller General. Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives of the United States.
  • Corporate Authors:

    U.S. General Accounting Office

    441 G Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20548
  • Publication Date: 1984-11-9

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Tables;
  • Pagination: 47 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00392122
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: GAO/RCED-85-28, HS-038 249
  • Files: HSL, TRIS
  • Created Date: May 31 1985 12:00AM