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Obama's Budget Triples Funding for Defect Investigation at NHTSA

Sunday, January 04, 2015

For years now, the federal administration has lacked the resources necessary to investigate auto defects, and act in a timely manner to protect motorists from malfunctioning vehicles. However, in the future, the budget for defect investigation and other related activities at the agency is likely to be much higher. President Obama recently proposed in his budget increased funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s defects division.

The budget proposal is included for the fiscal year 2016, and would increase funding by nearly 3 times for the division that is responsible for investigating motor vehicle defects. That budget has remained consistently flat for close to 10 years. Under the Obama administration's proposal, $31.3 million would be allocated to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defect Investigations. That would be an increase from the $1.1 million allocated to the Office of Defects Investigation during the current fiscal year. That makes a significant increase in the resources that are now available to the division.

If the proposal does go ahead, and the budget is tripled, that would increase the number of employees at the agency from 51 to 108 employees. The division would be able to hire more numbers of engineers, investigators, technicians, and other experts necessary to detect and analyze motor vehicle defects.

The move comes on the heels of a number of auto safety problems that have emerged recently. Millions of cars have been recalled last year alone for serious problems that increase motorist accident risks. Primary among these were the recalls of Takata airbags affecting millions of vehicles. Those defects have been linked to at least five fatalities.

In many of these cases, it has emerged that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was unable to identify these defects in time. The main reason for such failures was shortage of resources. Those problems will, hopefully, soon end with the expanded budget.

If you have suffered injuries in an accident caused by an auto defect, speak to a product liability attorney in Burbank.


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