Reports: Auto safety agency fails to hold carmakers accountable for lapses, safety problems

AutoAssociated Press

A government audit says the nation's auto safety regulator failed repeatedly over a decade to discover the General Motors ignition switch defect that's linked to more than 110 deaths.

The New York Times and Detroit News report that the Transportation Department's Office of Inspector General says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration repeatedly failed to hold automakers accountable for safety lapses. The watchdog audit also says the NHTSA didn't carefully collect vehicle safety data or hold carmakers accountable for problems.

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The 42-page report is set to be released next week. The newspapers obtained advance copies of the report.

In a formal response to the report, the agency says that it issued its own review of procedures following the G.M. case that led to several improvements, including improved staffing and training.