How does the NHTSA investigate safety problems?

According to the NHTSA, their technical experts review each and every call, letter, and online report of an alleged safety defect filed. They have no jurisdiction over defects that are not safety related, but they review each report that suggests a potential safety defect involving groups of motor vehicles or vehicle equipment. There is no established number of reports that must be filed before the NHTSA investigates an issue. The investigative process of the NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation consists of four parts:

Screening — A preliminary review of consumer complaints and other information related to alleged defects to decide whether to open an investigation

Analysis — An analysis of any petitions calling for defect investigations and/or reviews of safety-related recalls

Investigation — The investigation of alleged safety defects

Management – The investigation of the effectiveness of safety recalls.

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