President Obama has proposed allocating $31.3 million to Office of Defect Investigation of the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2016 thereby greatly boosting the funds of the division that investigates vehicle safety defects. The current budget was $11 million.
Once granted, this would allow the office to double its workforce from 51 to 108 employees, including 22 engineers, new investigators, statisticians and other employees – giving the office more hands to detect and analyze safety defects.
The budget hike is part of a proposed plan to spend almost $6 billion on NHTSA over the next six years, including $908 million in fiscal year2016. While lawmakers are generally backing calls for more funding for the NHTSA, a number of them are also pushing for broader reforms like expanded enforcement powers as well as a more arms-length relationship with the auto industry.
NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind, who had been saying that the agency is “woefully underfunded,” remarked to reporters in January that the resource shortage was more severe than he “realized from the outside.” The office’s workforce currently includes eight defect screeners, 16 defect investigators and four analysts.