WASHINGTON, July 18 (Reuters) - A government audit faulted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) oversight of auto safety recalls and said its "delayed action" may have delayed the expansion of a record-setting callback of millions of vehicles for Takata air bag inflators, a report made public on Wednesday said.
The U.S. Transportation Department's Office of Inspector General said in an audit released to Congress Wednesday that NHTSA's management of vehicle recalls lacks proper oversight. The report found that in the massive Takata air bag recalls the agency did not follow its own procedures to address low recall completion rates and its "delayed action to investigate" complaints may have delayed the expansion of the recalls.
At least 23 deaths worldwide are linked to faulty Takata air bag inflators, including 21 in Honda Motor Co and two in Ford Motor Co vehicles. NHTSA did not immediately comment Wednesday, but said in a letter with the report that it did not agree with all of the findings.
Reporting by David Shepardson Editing by Chris Reese