Honda Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) system demo - Japan, 11/2012Enlarge Photo
If you're one of the many folks who's criticized federal agencies for being behind the times on auto issues, we've got good news. The feds have heard you, and they've got a three-point plan to bring themselves -- and automakers -- up speed.
For a while, it seemed as if there wasn't much love for the auto industry or the agencies that regulated it.
In the wake of the Great Recession, car sales hit the skids, and automakers were criticized for not being nimble enough to adapt to a rapidly changing marketplace. Some companies declared bankruptcy, like General Motors and Chrysler (now Fiat Chrysler, thanks to its restructuring). Others shed brands, as Ford did.
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Then came Tesla and a slew of other start-ups, who claimed that the traditional auto industry wasn't moving quickly enough to deploy next-gen technology -- technology that could save lives, improve traffic flow, and cut down on fuel waste. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was often cited as part of that problem because of its slow, bureaucratic approval process.
And of course, 2014 saw a host of recalls, including massive ones involving GM ignition switches and Takata airbags. In 2015, the headline-grabber was Volkswagen, which revealed in September that some 11 million of its diesel vehicles were spewing far more pollutants into the atmosphere than anyone thought. While the automakers and suppliers bore the brunt of the blame, some rested on the shoulders of NHTSA, which was, once again, accused of being a bloated hindrance.
PICKING UP SPEED
Now, the Department of Transportation and NHTSA are fighting back. This week and later this month, they're unveiling a three-point plan to bring the auto industry up to speed and accelerate the rollout of new technology to vehicles:
We'll keep you posted as details of the DOT/NHTSA plan emerge.