Traffic Safety

NHTSA Needs Critical Reforms and Increased Resources to Protect Consumers

AAA supports calls for higher penalties, increased transparency and more stringent oversight

Washington, D.C., (September 16, 2014) – AAA released the following statement in response to today’s Senate Commerce Committee hearing that focused on the vehicle safety recall process and the committee’s broader oversight of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

“There is plenty of blame to go around with both failures by automakers and missteps by regulators at NHTSA which failed to protect the public as evidence mounted of potential dangers in many GM vehicles,” said AAA Chief Operating Officer Marshall L. Doney. “The time for finger-pointing has passed, and now we must focus on ensuring that a problem of this magnitude never again threatens road safety.”

“Congress has for too long failed to fund NHTSA’s investigation department and the agency desperately needs those resources to fulfill its public mission,” continued Doney. “New funding for NHTSA must be tied to necessary reforms that ensure that tax dollars are spent on conducting effective investigations that identify critical safety defects before lives are lost.”

“NHTSA’s fines on automakers must fit the severity of violations that threaten road users, and AAA supports raising the limit on these fines immediately from $35 million to $300 million,” continued Doney. “Efforts by automakers to oppose this increase are disappointing and yet again puts profits before safety.”

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at