The Ongoing History of New Music, encore presentation: The story of the electric guitar, part 2

For centuries, music and nice and clean. While different instruments gave notes different timbres, the frequencies of these notes were expected to be projected with clarity and purity. Yes, you could add a little oomph but playing fortissimo, but the dogma was “Let’s not overdo it.

But sometimes the situation called for overdoing things. Banging a piano in a certain way turns a melody and a beat into boogie-woogie. A raspy, hard-blown saxophone brings energy to a performance.

But creating lots of volume and pleasant distortion with either of these instruments–and we can name a few others–is limited to the abilities of the human body. Volume and distortion and all that energy that comes from playing this way are restricted by how hard you can hit or blow into something.

The electric guitar has no such limitations. It can be played so all the notes are pristine. Or you can summon all the demons of hell with plenty of power and glory. And that is cool.

The electric guitar is one of humankind’s greatest musical inventions. Starting in the 1950s, it revolutionized many types of popular music. Country, the blues, jazz, and, most of all, rock. After it appeared, nothing was ever the same and the sound of music changed forever. It’s impossible to imagine what today’s music would sound like had the electric guitar not been invented.

But how did we get here? This is the story of the electric guitar part 2.

Songs heard on this show:

    • Big Wreck, The Oaf
    • Sex Pistols, Anarchy in the UK
    • Radiohead, Bodysnatchers
    • Oasis, Supersonic
    • Lenny Kravitz, Are You Gonna Go My Way
    • U2, Beautiful Day
    • Vampire Weekend, A-Punk
    • Duane Eddy, Rebel Rouser
    • Smiths, What Different Does It Make
    • Alice in Chains, I Stay Away

This is Eric Wilhite’s playlist.

The Ongoing History of New Music can be heard on the following stations:


We’re still looking for more affiliates in Calgary, Kamloops, Kelowna, Regina, Saskatoon, Brandon, Windsor,  Montreal, Charlottetown, Moncton, Fredericton, and St John’s, and anywhere else with a transmitter. If you’re in any of those markets and you want the show, lemme know and I’ll see what I can do.

© 2023 Corus Radio, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Ongoing History Daily: The Lumineers’ name issues

Finding a name for your band is hard and it can take forever to come up with the right one. Sometimes, though, fate can intervene.

The two primary members of The Lumineers have always been Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites. When they first started playing gigs around New York City, they used a variety of names like Free Beer, 6Cheek, and the very basic Wesley Jeremiah. Nothing was working, including all the music they were trying to make.

Then one night before another crappy club show in New Jersey, the emcee made a mistake. Another band called “The Lumineers” was scheduled to play at that same venue in a week. The emcees introduced Schultz and Fraites as “The Lumineers.”

The name stuck—and no one seems to know what happened to the band who originally had that name.

© 2023 Corus Radio, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Peterborough Petes advance to Memorial Cup semifinal with 5-4 OT win over Blazers

J.R. Avon scored the game-winning goal 10:54 into overtime and the Peterborough Petes beat the Kamloops Blazers 5-4 on Thursday, earning a semifinal berth at the Memorial Cup.

Connor Lockhart, Brennan Othmann, Samuel Mayer and Brian Zanetti had the others for Ontario Hockey League champion Peterborough. Michael Simpson made 43 saves.

Logan Stankoven, Olen Zellweger, Harrison Brunicke and Logan Bairos replied for host Kamloops. Dylan Ernst stopped 25 shots.

The Petes will next meet the Western Hockey League champion Seattle Thunderbirds in Friday’s semifinal for a chance to face the Quebec Remparts in the final on Sunday.

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League champion Remparts earned a berth into the final after opening the tournament with wins over Kamloops and Seattle.

Quebec later fell to Peterborough — which staved off elimination and forced Thursday’s tiebreaker with the victory — 4-2 on Tuesday in both teams’ final round-robin game.

Lockhart opened the scoring 7:52 into the first period. Chase Lefebvre sent the puck across the end boards to Jax Dubois, who found Lockhart with a slick pass into the slot and he beat Ernst five-hole.

Stankoven evened it up 11:20 into the frame, sending the Sandman Centre crowd into a frenzy. Connor Levis took a point shot and the rebound came out to the Blazers captain, who scored his second of the tournament.

Zellweger put Kamloops ahead 12:45 into the frame on the power play. The CHL Defenceman of the Year nominee saved the puck from getting out of the Petes’ zone, moved into the slot and wired one past Simpson for his first.

With 2:27 remaining in the first, Brunicke piled it on for the Blazers. Peterborough’s Konnor Smith attempted to clear it from the end boards but the puck ended up with Brunicke at the point, where he got around a defender and beat Simpson just over his right shoulder with little room to spare.

Bairos gave Kamloops a 4-1 edge 4:23 into the middle frame. He fired a point shot that ricocheted off Simpson’s blocker, then over him and in.

Just over three minutes later, the Petes began to swing the momentum back in their favour.

Peterborough Petes defenceman Donovan McCoy, right, grabs the puck from Kamloops Blazers forward Dylan Sydor, centre, while goalie Michael Simpson looks on during second period Memorial Cup hockey action in Kamloops, B.C., Thursday, June 1, 2023.

Peterborough Petes defenceman Donovan McCoy, right, grabs the puck from Kamloops Blazers forward Dylan Sydor, centre, while goalie Michael Simpson looks on during second period Memorial Cup hockey action in Kamloops, B.C., Thursday, June 1, 2023.

Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press
Peterborough Petes goalie Michael Simpson, left, blocks the net on Kamloops Blazers forward Daylan Kuefler during first period Memorial Cup hockey action in Kamloops, B.C., Thursday, June 1, 2023.T

Peterborough Petes goalie Michael Simpson, left, blocks the net on Kamloops Blazers forward Daylan Kuefler during first period Memorial Cup hockey action in Kamloops, B.C., Thursday, June 1, 2023.T

Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

Othmann stripped Bairos of the puck as the Blazers defenceman tried to skate out of his own zone. Othmann then turned around and roofed it past Ernst as he fell to one knee.

Mayer made it a one-goal game on the power play with 2:23 left in the second. He took a pass from Lockhart and fired in a one-timer from the point.

Zanetti knotted the contest just over a minute later. He tipped in a pass from Tucker Robertson while streaking toward the net and beat Ernst five-hole.

Both sides struggled to capitalize on prime scoring opportunities leading to a scoreless third period and extra time to settle the winner.

Following a dazzling effort by Zellweger that just missed, Owen Beck took the puck up ice for Peterborough and dropped it off for Avon, who put it past Ernst to seal the win.

Kamloops defeated Peterborough 10-2 when the two last met on Sunday. But with 7:05 remaining in that game, Othmann laid a hit on Blazers defenceman Kyle Masters, who fell awkwardly into the boards.

Masters had to be stretchered off the ice and was taken to Royal Inland Hospital. Head coach and general manager Shaun Clouston said Monday that the blue liner was out for the tournament with a lower-body injury.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Beach in Port Dover still closed as Norfolk politicians, owners continue talks

With lots of sunshine expected this weekend, beachgoers headed to Port Dover will still only have a small area of sand in the town they can actually use.

No trespassing signs are still up along sections of the larger beach with privately-owned sections off limits to the public while Norfolk County politicians and landowners hammer out a deal to resume public access.

Much of Port Dover beach is owned by private landowners, with only a small part actually owned by the county from the end of Walker Street to the water.

Local local restaurateur Peter Knechtel, whose company F.W. Knechtel Foods Ltd. owns a section of the beach in question, told Global News large crowds in recent years have left garbage and created liability concerns that he says he doesn’t have the resources to mitigate.

On top of that, many beaches in southern Ontario aren’t free anymore, reducing their crowds via user fees, implementing paid parking and requiring reservations.

“The other parks and the other beaches have put a lot of restrictions in their locations, which we don’t have in ours,” said Knechtel who also owns the nearby Callahan’s Beach House.

“So we’re working with the county so that we can we can come up with a plan so that we can open the beach.”

Friday is considered an unofficial beach day in Norfolk, on which teens have been known to ditch school and descend on Port Dover, Turkey Point and Long Point.

Knechtel says while they usually don’t see many students at the Port Dover beach, he’s been in contact with the OPP and was told they’ll be patrolling all three beaches.

In mid-May, Norfolk councillors directed staff to start negotiating with the private owners on a solution acknowledging the beach plots are an “important part of our tourism strategy.”

Norfolk County mayor Any Martin says staff are continuing that dialogue and are expected to update council on their progress during a special council meeting next week.

“We remain optimistic and confident that all issues will be resolved soon,” Martin said in an email.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

U.S. Senate passes debt ceiling bill to prevent default, set to become law

WATCH: Debt ceiling bill passes U.S. House, government spending cut

The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed the critical debt ceiling and spending legislation that will ensure the country avoids a federal default, sending the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk and ending one of the most stressful periods of congressional dealmaking in recent memory.

The legislation passed the upper chamber a day after the House united in rare bipartisan fashion to approve the deal reached between Republicans and the White House, which has few fans but will ensure the U.S. can continue to pay its debts.

“America can breathe a sigh of relief,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said as he announced an agreement on the vote.

The legislation passed the Senate by 63-36, with both Democrats and Republicans voting no. It will now go to Biden’s desk for his signature, making it law.

Biden said on Twitter he would sign the bill “as soon as possible” and address the nation on Friday.

Congress was racing to meet a Monday deadline set by the U.S. Treasury — the so-called “X-date” when the nation would run out of reserve funds and other “extraordinary measures” it was using for debt repayments and federal funding since hitting the debt ceiling in January. Economists around the world have been watching nervously as that deadline fast approaches.

Getting the bill through the Senate was no easy task. As they did in the House, Republicans and Democrats had to wrangle enough members to ensure a strong majority despite their misgivings. Top White House staff called individual senators to shore up support.

Schumer also had to allow votes on 11 amendments put forth by senators who had issues with the bill, despite warning earlier Thursday that attempts to change the legislation would bring Congress closer to the X-date.

He called for each amendment to be debated and voted on quickly to ensure final passage “in a timely manner,” and in the end, none of them passed.

Like Schumer, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell signaled he wanted to waste no time.

Touting the House package with its budget cuts, McConnell said Thursday, “The Senate has a chance to make that important progress a reality.”

While some of the criticism from senators of both parties was similar to the complaints heard in the House — Republicans unhappy with spending cuts not going far enough, Democrats slamming work requirements — some Republicans also voiced alarm over the bill’s military spending requirements.

National security hawks like Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said the deal does not boost defence spending far enough, eyeing the need for supplemental spending to support Ukraine for an anticipated counteroffensive against Russia this summer. But Graham said more is needed to counter other foreign threats as well, particularly China.

“This bill puts us behind the eight-ball,” Graham said on the floor of the Senate ahead of the marathon of votes.

“It’s right to want to control spending, and there are some good things in this bill. But it was wrong to give a defence number inconsistent with the threats we face.”

Instead, senators concerned about the level of military spending secured an agreement from Schumer, which he read on the floor, stating that the debt ceiling deal “does nothing” to limit the Senate’s ability to approve other emergency supplemental funds for national security, including aid to Ukraine, or other national interests.

Overall, the 99-page bill restricts spending for the next two years, suspends the debt ceiling into January 2025 and changes some policies, including imposing new work requirements for older Americans receiving food aid and greenlighting an Appalachian natural gas line that many Democrats oppose.

It bolsters funds for defence and veterans, cuts back new money for Internal Revenue Service agents and rejects Biden’s call to roll back Trump-era tax breaks on corporations and the wealthy to help cover the nation’s deficits.

The controversial Mountain Valley Pipeline is important to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and he defended the development running through his state, saying the country cannot run without the power of gas, coal, wind and all available energy sources.

The compromise came about after weeks of tense negotiations between House Republicans and the White House that frequently fell apart over GOP calls for spending cuts and Democrats standing firm, insisting on a “clean” bill that would raise or suspend the debt limit without conditions.

Senators largely stayed out of the fight, with both Schumer and McConnell simply urging both sides to reach a deal.

Raising the nation’s debt limit, now US$31.4 trillion, would ensure Treasury could borrow to pay already incurred U.S. debts.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the spending restrictions in the package would reduce deficits by US$1.5 trillion over the decade, a top goal for the Republicans trying to curb the debt load.

In a surprise that complicated Republicans’ support, however, the CBO said their drive to impose work requirements on older Americans receiving food stamps would end up boosting spending by US$2.1 billion over the time period. That’s because the final deal exempts veterans and homeless people, expanding the food stamp rolls by 78,000 people monthly, the CBO said.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, meanwhile, has been celebrating his chamber’s quick bipartisan passage of the bill the night before, which saw Democrats ensure a robust 314-117 vote.

“We did pretty dang good,” McCarthy, said Wednesday night after the vote.

As for discontent from Republicans who said the spending restrictions did not go far enough, McCarthy said it was only a “first step.” He has promised more work in the House to pour over government budgets and eliminate wasteful spending, calling for Democrats to support Republicans in the effort.

— with files from the Associated Press

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Manitoba premier issues apology for centre for people with intellectual disabilities

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson formally apologized in the legislature Thursday to former residents of the Manitoba Developmental Centre, one of the country's last large institutional facilities for people with intellectual disabilities.

Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson formally apologized in the legislature Thursday to former residents of the Manitoba Developmental Centre, one of the country’s last large institutional facilities for people with intellectual disabilities.

Stefanson’s apology, part of a $17-million class-action settlement earlier this year, focused partly on abuse and neglect suffered by former residents. But it also touched on the larger issue of housing people in large institutions instead of in the community with personal supports.

“We are sorry for our province’s history of forcing children and adults into an institutional model of care, for the resulting loss of family, culture and the right to be (a) valued member of a community,” Stefanson told the chamber.

“Our vulnerable citizens were separated and segregated from their families, devalued and denied of their fundamental human rights to live freely in the community.”

The facility opened in Portage la Prairie in 1890. At its peak in the 1970s, it housed some 1,200 people but is now home to fewer than 130. The Manitoba government stopped accepting new residents at the centre in 1996, except for short-term and court-ordered placements.

In 2021, the Progressive Conservative government announced plans to close the centre by 2024 and have people live closer to loved ones, often in their own homes with support. That plan remains on track, Stefanson said.

The lawsuit was launched in 2018 by David Weremy, who lived at the centre in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. In his statement of claim, Weremy alleged he was often hit with a whip or a wooden board, frequently underfed and punished for trying to run away by being placed in solitary confinement or being forced to sleep naked on the floor.
The statement of claim sought $50 million and alleged staff beat residents, deprived them of food and allowed sexual assaults to occur between residents.

Weremy was in the legislature gallery Thursday to hear the apology and later told reporters it felt good.

“Don’t put people in an institution. Don’t lock them up,” he said.

Opposition NDP Leader Wab Kinew said his party wins the provincial election scheduled for Oct. 3, it would follow through on the commitment to close the centre.

“I think the apology is a necessary step and it’s clear that the era of institutionalization is over and we’re now in an era of inclusion,” Kinew said.

The class-action settlement agreement, which received court approval last month, will see much of the $17 million used to compensate former residents. Some of the money is slated to build a monument at the Manitoba Developmental Centre’s cemetery and to fund projects that help people with disabilities live in the community.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Massive demand as B.C. launches new e-bike rebate program

WATCH: The B.C. government's rebate program for the purchase of electric bikes begins Thursday. As Aaron McArthur reports, it's already popular enough to temporarily crash the government website.

There was no shortage of interest Thursday as the B.C. government opened applications for its new electric bicycle rebate program.

The provincial government has created a fund of $6 million, available as of June 1, to offset the cost of e-bikes.

Under the program, people aged 19 and up are eligible for rebates ranging from $350 to $1,400 on bikes priced $2,000 or more.

B.C. e-bike rebates by income threshold.

B.C. e-bike rebates by income threshold.

The demand was swift, with more than 1,600 applications lodged in the first 30 minutes the website was open, and multiple reports of tech glitches and crashes.

Paul Dragan, who operates Vancouver’s Reckless Bike Stores, wasn’t surprised at the interest, telling Global News the popularity of e-bikes has soared in the last decade.

“We have three or four that are going to go out today or tomorrow because people said I’m going to buy it as son as the program is announced,” he said in an interview Thursday.

“We think its a great thing. There’s been a subsidy for electric cars for a number of years. Bikes, as everybody knows, are good for your health, good for your mental health, do not contribute to global warming as much as some other methods of transportation, and they’re good for your health.”

The B.C. government previously made e-bikes PST free in 2021.

The program, however, may be too popular for its own good — as Thursday’s glitches demonstrated.

“I don’t think we underestimated it, but perhaps we need to work on our technology infrastructure a little bit,” Environment Minister George Heyman said of the website issues.

What’s more, there are questions about whether the $6-million pool of funding was already drained in a single day.

By late afternoon, applicants on the rebate website were directed to a wait list for the program. Whether the province will move to top funding up remains to be seen.

“We’re constantly reviewing these programs to ensure they have the funds they need and that they are accessible to people,” Heyman said.

To support the safety of e-bike riders, the province is also partnering with HUB Cycling for a Streetwise Cycling Online program and in-person courses to teach fundamental bike-handling skills like hand signals, balancing and maneuvering.

You can find out more about the rebate program here. 

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

After a traumatic brain injury, UBC student heads to Stanford to help others

WATCH: A UBC graduate who nearly lost his life in a significant crash two years ago - is going to Stanford University to embark on PhD studies. Yi Yi Du suffers from a traumatic brain injury after being in a coma for two months, but he defied all odds and is now helping others like himself. Jennifer Palma reports.

UBC student Yi Yi Du never thought he would graduate from university.

The 24-year-old fell into a two-month-long coma after being struck by a car in the fall of 2021 and suffered a severe traumatic brain injury.

But now, the ambitious young man has fought back and in the fall, he will start a Ph.D. program at Stanford University, where he is hoping to develop technologies that can support people who suffer traumatic brain injuries.

“I graduated with mechanical engineering, with a specialization in biomechanics and medical devices, special design,” Du said of his UBC diploma.

At Stanford, he wants to apply what he learned about automatic control and use it to design medical devices such as traumatic brain injury prevention devices or rehabilitative devices.

“I’m going to the direct to the Ph.D. program, so I won’t be getting a master’s,” Du said.

While he is excited about Stanford and what lies ahead, Du had a long road of rehabilitation to get here.

“Before the accident, I was a very dedicated individual,” he said.

“On one side of things, on the academic side, I focused on my schoolwork, achieving A-pluses in all my courses, and also continuing to participate in undergraduate research and also doing my co-op.

“But also my other side focused on outside of school where I was very passionate in three things. The first is road biking. One of my really close friends from high school introduced me to road cycling and we went on really long rides.”

Du said he also loved hiking and even wanted to train with North Shore Rescue at one point. He said he also enjoyed sea kayaking and was a lifeguard with the City of Coquitlam.

“I really like the outdoors,” he said.

But after being hit by a car while on his longboard and not wearing a helmet, Du gradually began to come out of his coma after two months.

I don’t remember the early days because my memory is not so good after the accident,” he said. “But from what I and my mom’s account, I woke up not just immediately, like what you would expect. It was very gradual waking, gradual consciousness.”

In his case, Du’s doctors told him he likely will have some permanent disabilities, including issues with balance and double vision. He said his cognitive abilities will be the slowest to recover and he also gets tired very easily.

He said after his accident and returning to studying, UBC has been very considerate and understanding of his condition. He received accommodations on exams and assignment deadlines as he processes information slower than others.

But now he is looking forward to the next stage of his life and what he can achieve.

“I think because of my injury, I like to focus on something that’s not physically intensive for work because I don’t think I would excel at physically demanding work or active work that requires my active daily life,” he said.

“At the same time, I want to continue my research in biomechanics and medical devices because before my injury, I (knew) the importance of medical devices and the research going to them. I knew that it was very important for this society. But now, after the injury, I have a personal understanding of the impact of research.”

Specifically, he said he would like to develop a crutch or a cane to help people walk with more stability.

The future in sunny California looks bright for Du as he heads off this fall with a new outlook on life.

“You cannot choose what happens to you,” he said. “You can choose what you respond. I think that is the takeaway from this. And I think another takeaway is to make sure to surround yourself with a good support network.”

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Hamilton public school board marks Pride month by raising more inclusive Pride flag

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) has raised a new, more inclusive version of the Pride flag in front of its headquarters to mark Pride month.

It’s a combination of the traditional rainbow flag and the progressive flag that recognizes people of colour and transgender people, with an addition to include the intersex community.

Board staff gathered in front of the HWDSB offices on Education Court on Thursday afternoon for a flag-raising ceremony, where a number of employees talked about why the new inclusive flag is important.

Mitch Borsc, a trans educator and equity consultant with the board, explained that the components within the chevron on the flag represent the progress that has been made within the LGBTQ2 community.

“On the left-hand side of the flag, we see community members from the two-spirit and LGBTQ communities that have been left historically have been left behind.”

He said it’s important to show support for students who may not be able to speak openly about their identities yet.

“Some of our students are on their journeys to discovering who they are, and they’re not ready to be public-facing. So when we have an opportunity to raise student voice, especially when it’s voice that is joyous and happy and celebratory, we make space to do that in any way possible.”

Darryl Byers, a system social worker with the board, read out an anonymous testimonial from a high school student during the ceremony about the need to celebrate visibility during Pride month at a time when homophobic and transphobic ideologies are becoming more visible.

“This Pride month may be difficult to celebrate due to the growing intolerance towards our identities,” he read.

“However, you deserve to feel and be recognized. I need you to know you have been so strong throughout this. Nobody deserves to be targeted because of their identity. We aren’t going anywhere. We will continue being who we are because who we are is beautiful. They can’t erase us.”

Sheryl Robinson Petrazzini, the HWDSB’s director of education, said this is the first Pride month after the board passed its new human rights policy last fall.

She said it was great to see such a large turnout for Thursday’s ceremony and hoped that flying the flag will make students and staff who are part of the LGBTQ2 community feel represented, even as other school boards in the province choose not to take the same route.

“I’m hoping that we will serve as an inspiration for others who are not yet there. And we know students, they’re exposed to things across the province, so hopefully, if they’re not seeing themselves represented where they are, they are seeing it across the province in different places, including our school board.”

Hamilton joined in on the celebrating of pride month by flying a pair of flags atop city hall on Thursday.

Both the ‘Progressive Pride Flag’ and ‘Transgender Flag’ are appearing throughout the month of June.

Meanwhile the traditional rainbow crosswalk on Main Street West and Summers Lane was also unveiled late Thursday afternoon.

Hamilton's rainbow crosswalk on Main Street east and Summers Lane will be a fixture through Pride month in June 2023.

Hamilton's rainbow crosswalk on Main Street east and Summers Lane will be a fixture through Pride month in June 2023.

Globel News

The International Village BIA also unveiled it’s ‘Pride Crosswalk Intersection’ located at King William Street and  Ferguson Avenue North.

That install was part of ‘My Main Street’ program putting nearly $58,000 into the project.

My Main Street is a two-year, $23.25-million government funded investment through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) supporting support innovation, growth and job creation.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Slow U.S. auto safety probes hurting ability to respond to risks, audit says

WATCH: Bigger, heavier, faster: Weight of electric vehicles drives up safety concerns

The U.S. auto safety regulator routinely fails to meet its internal timelines for completing auto safety defect investigations, a government report released on Thursday found, hindering its ability to quickly respond to severe safety risks.

The Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General said that 26 of 27 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigations in its 2018 to 2019 sample did not meet the agency’s timeliness targets, and faulted other aspects of its review of safety defects.

The report found NHTSA’s efforts, including its leadership holding regular investigation reviews and trying to tighten timelines, had not resulted in timely defect investigations.

The lack of timeliness in completing investigations limits NHTSA’s ability to respond to rapidly evolving or severe risks to vehicle safety as well as the agency’s public accountability, the report added.

NHTSA defect investigations are required before the agency can seek to compel an automaker to conduct a recall of vehicles that pose serious safety risks.

NHTSA has a 120-day target for completing preliminary evaluations and a one-year target to complete engineering analyzes.

The report, in its sample of some 2018 and 2019 NHTSA investigations, found preliminary evaluations spent 617 days open on average while engineering analyzes were on average open for 1,001 days.

Deputy NHTSA Administrator Sophie Shulman said in response to the report that simply because the agency exceeded internal timelines that did not demonstrate that its safety interventions were insufficient.

“We do not wait until an investigation is closed to hold a manufacturer accountable for fixing a safety defect,” she said.

The report said NHTSA Office of Defect Investigation (ODI) staff complained about limited resources, being overwhelmed by an unprecedented increase in correspondence, management’s decision making, approval processes, documentation reviews and the agency’s interaction with manufacturers.

NHTSA wants 26 additional ODI employees to identify and investigate potential safety defects and manage recalls, the report said.

The report also faulted NHTSA’s reliance upon aging, decentralized databases and said a lack of consistent compliance with its issue escalation processes increased the potential for delays in investigating and mitigating important safety issues.

NHTSA said in response it had already taken actions that fully implement half of the report’s recommendations.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday withdrew the nomination of the acting head of NHTSA to take the top job on a permanent basis. For much of the last six years, NHTSA has been without a Senate-confirmed administrator.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler and Jamie Freed)

© 2023 Reuters

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