The first motor vehicle fatality occurred in 1889 in New York City. Since then, The United States has continued to elevate its standards with regard to vehicle safety, including focusing on a concept called crashworthiness.
With two major recalls sweeping the nation very recently, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has come under close scrutiny. The GM ignition switches and Takata airbags that spurred the recall of millions of vehicles cost the lives of dozens of people, leading officials to examine why these issues were overlooked for so long. Evidence suggests that the NHTSA was aware of the GM defect as early as 2007, but failed to take decisive action.
According to the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, a company that knows an automotive item contains a potentially hazardous defect, or reasonably should know, they must report this to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) within 5 days. If this duty is neglected, they can face serious civil penalties.