TOPIC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

After San Bruno explosion, trying to force regulators to do their jobs

San Bruno, CA October 2010

Assailing federal and state regulators, San Francisco’s city attorney is threatening to file a federal lawsuit both the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the California Public Utilities Commission for lax oversight, regulatory capture and a cozy relationship with Pacific Gas & Electric Co., according to reporting by Jaxon Van Derbeken of the San Francisco Chronicle.  “The public is at risk because the mandates of federal law have not been followed by PG&E or enforced” by regulators, [San Francisco City Attorney Dennis] Herrera said, adding, “it has become increasingly clear that regulators bear some fault here and were either asleep at the switch or too cozy with the industry they are supposed to regulate.”   Herrera said the goal of the suit he intends to file is to prompt regulatory authorities to do their job or be forced to do so — under court-ordered supervision. (more…)

DOT review of Toyota has whiff of backroom negotiating

It may seem strange that the Department of Transportation first fined Toyota nearly fifty million dollars for its tardy response to problems drivers had encountered with its accelerators, and then exonerated the auto giant with a determination that, as Matthew Wald reports in the New York Times, “there is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas.”

It may seem a little less strange when you find out that Toyota agreed to build a fifty-million-dollar auto safety center in Michigan. (more…)