Normal operations and functions of America’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have been restricted as a result of the US Federal Government shutdown announced on Tuesday.
In a statement the NHTSA told AOL Autos, it has stopped many of the activities that help keep motorists safe in their vehicles.
These include issuing recall notifications, investigating potential automotive defects, evaluating consumer complaints, rulemaking, and assessing new cars’ safety, which comprises crash testing and the awarding of star ratings.
Citing a “lapse of Federal Government funding”, the safety body says consumers can continue to file complaints on the agency’s website, however, they will not be investigated until funding is restored. Similarly, manufacturers are still able to announce their own recalls to the general public, though, only if they elect to do so.
According to the agency’s Lapse in Annual Appropriations Plan, 333 of its 597 staff are considered furloughed – on temporary unpaid leave.
On the NHTSA’s US-based website a note reads: “During the government shutdown, some online content may not be updated on a regular basis, and the processing of online transactions may be delayed.”
The NHTSA says compliance testing of vehicles and equipment, vehicle safety research as well as distribution of Highway Safety Grant funds will all be suspended, with Highway Safety Research and Development activities set to continue.
The NHTSA restrictions follow the failing of the US Congress to agree on a new budget and refusing to extend the current one – the first time such an event has occurred in 17 years.
Along with the Department of Transportation, the shutdown has impacted on the departments of Treasury, Defence, Justice, Education and Homeland Security along with the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Communications Commission, Internal Revenue Service and NASA.