Banking regulations not the only ones facing overhaul

Mike Riggs Contributor
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Apparently the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which P.J. O’Rourke immortalized in ‘Parliament of Whores’ as a bunch of friendly gearheads at the mercy of risk-averse consumers, is in line for a beating:

House panel on Thursday planned to examine the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s oversight of the auto industry in the latest congressional hearing linked to Toyota’s recall of more than 8 million vehicles worldwide. Safety groups have accused NHTSA of being too cozy with the Japanese automaker while lacking the resources to test for vehicle problems that could be electronic, not mechanical.

NHTSA has been viewed by the motor vehicle industry for years as a lapdog, not a watchdog,” Joan Claybrook, a former NHTSAadministrator under President Jimmy Carter, said in prepared testimony.

If you want to get a sense of just how much the auto industry has changed over the last few decades, consider this: 35 years ago, Toyota’s role as a chew toy in the trade war between the U.S. and Japan dominated the Washington press corps’ attention. Today, however, we’re looking at Rep. Eric Massa and health care, despite the fact that the former is out of office and the latter is unlikely to pass. Hell, Afghanistan can’t get any love either.