Automotive recall legislation has been largely consistent for years, but things might be moving in a different direction. From the impact that technology is having on every single portion of the automotive industry, to the changing face of the government, a lot is yet to be decided with respect to the fate of laws and regulations that govern recalls and protect citizens.
One of the biggest currently impending changes has to do with self-driving cars, which is raising some questions with respect to the potential leader of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
New face of the NHTSA?
The Detroit News recently reported that Heidi King, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the NHTSA top position, was grilled about the Takata airbag issue
in her nomination hearing in front of the U.S. Senate. This particular hearing was overseen by the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, with members asking King why the recall of those airbags was so messy.
King has been the NHTSA’s deputy administrator for months, and was put in charge of handling that particular recall, the publication noted. At the same time, there is no clear sign that the issue has been entirely resolved.
“A report done by the minority staff on this committee issued just last Friday shows that there are still 1.3 million vehicles out there with those defective Takata air bags, which is nothing more than a ticking time bomb,” Florida Senator Bill Nelson stated at the hearing, according to The Detroit News. “Just in the state of Florida, three people are dead. Eighty-three people are injured. And that’s just one state.”
King told the committee that she is working with each automotive manufacturer to resolve this issue in a more strategic and concerted fashion. At the time of this article, King has still not been admitted into the position, but no matter who emerges as the leader, changes are sure to come.
The driverless car dilemma
Autonomous vehicles are increasingly popular and have made headlines of late for their involvement in crashes. As such, whoever is ultimately in control of the NHTSA will need to oversee relatively massive overhauls to legislation to ensure that consumers are protected, especially when various parts are defective.
For example, Wired reported the car crash that ended in a fatality
involving a Tesla occurred when the car’s “autopilot” feature was turned on. Other crashes involving Uber, Google and other players in the space have increased concerns. Although investigations are still taking place in all of these cases, companies themselves have taken somewhat drastic measures to eliminate the risk of another deadly or harmful accident.
At the same time, self-driving car dangers and problems have been largely overseen by their various manufacturers rather than hard-and-fast legislative frameworks. Considering that these automobiles are expected to take off far more quickly in the coming years, modernized legislation, especially recall protocols and rules, may need to be prioritized going forward.