Book Note: 'The Struggle for Auto Safety'

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date

Spring 1991


In The Struggle for Auto Safety, Jerry L. Mashaw and David L. Harfst trace the development of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") from its inception to the present. The story they tell reveals a beleagured agency involved in one failure after another. They argue that the agency, hindered by its legal environment and internal divisiveness, lost sight of its original technology-forcing goal and chose, instead, to regulate through forced automobile recalls. The result, they argue, is an agency entwined in red tape and incapable of dictating anything to powerful automobile manufacturers, and unwilling even to try.