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E&C Leaders Ask GAO to Investigate NHTSA’s Research and Rulemaking Delays

Sep 16, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) sent a letter to U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) Comptroller Gene L. Dodaro requesting that the GAO investigate the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) research and rulemaking process to determine the cause of the Agency’s multi-year delays. The three lawmakers also request recommendations to ensure NHTSA completes rulemakings, reports and research initiatives by their Congressionally-mandated statutory deadlines.

“In both the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act) in 2015 and the Moving America Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) in 2012, Congress directed NHTSA to implement dozens of safety mandates to help reduce the unacceptably high number of traffic fatalities and injuries on our nation’s roads. These safety mandates cannot save lives if they are not carried out,” wrote Pallone, Schakowsky and Blunt Rochester. “Regrettably, NHTSA has failed to implement nearly 20 Congressionally mandated rulemakings, reports, and research initiatives by their statutory deadlines. This blatant disregard for Congressional directives not only endangers the lives of all who travel on our roads, but also suggests that NHTSA may face institutional challenges that hinder its ability to fulfill its safety-critical mission.”

Pallone, Schakowsky and Blunt Rochester request that the GAO examine several matters, including:

  • What factors have caused NHTSA to miss statutory deadlines for rulemakings, reports and research initiatives?
  • What steps, if any, has NHTSA taken toward fulfilling the mandates?
  • How does NHTSA prioritize rulemakings? How do deadlines factor into its prioritization?
  • How have the technological advances of motor vehicles affected NHTSA’s ability to meet statutory deadlines?
  • Have staffing shortages or funding limitations impeded NHTSA’s efforts to complete Congressionally-manded rulemakings, reports and research?

The full letter is available HERE.