The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s new chief, Mark Rosekind, said he will push Congress for additional staffing and broader authority to ensure the agency improves its ability to enforce federal safety standards and identify vehicle defects, the Detroit News reported.
Funding increases could help pay for new software to more readily identify trends indicating vehicle defects, Rosekind said. Moreover, he wants to hire more agency employees to evaluate consumer complaints and crash data. Fewer than 50 staff members are now charged with reviewing auto defect issues.
Rosekind, who was sworn in as NHTSA administrator on Dec. 22, previously served as a member of the National Transportation Safety Board.
NHTSA has drawn growing criticism for lengthy delays in identifying life-threatening vehicle defects and demanding recalls, especially in the wake of last year's recalls tied to Takata air bags and General Motors ignition switches.
In 2014, auto manufacturers called back a record-setting 63.5 million vehicles as part of more than 800 recall campaigns, the Detroit News reported.