>> So why in the world wouldn't you buckle up you?>> It's the department in charge of auto safety, but right now, no one's at the wheel. Eight months after taking over, the Trump administration still hasn't appointed an administrator for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA. Part of a wider failure by the administration to staff hundreds of key posts across the government.
David Shepherdson is following the story.>> Throughout a lot of agencies you've had sort of skeleton staffs working, and then the administration has appointed basically temporary people. So throughout the government you hear complaints that the lack of staff is hindering the government's ability to operate.>> The vacancies at NHTSA bringing complaints from manufacturers and consumer groups that road safety laws passed in 2015 in response to traffic deaths are stuck in limbo.
The agency failing to move forward on regulating faulty airbags and ignition switches or improving tire standards to save lives on American roads.>> In 2015, the Congress told NHTSA to do some key things on tires. Number one, create a searchable database online so if your tire is recalled you can type the identification number in and see if it's recalled, today you can't do that.
And so there's a lot of frustration that two years after congress did this, there does not appear to be much action.>> AT NHTSA, the State Department and elsewhere, the administration got off to a slow start with high level nominations, many now still languishing in congress. The result, agencies operating in slow motion because mid-level employees don't have authority to make decisions.
At the State Department, only 5 of the top 40 jobs under Secretary Rex Tillerson have been filled with no officials in place to run regional posts handling US ties with the rest of the world. One hotspot where the lack of leadership may have had an impact? North Korea.
The US managing the deepening crisis without an ambassador in South Korea or an assistant secretary for East Asia. The White House blames Democrats in the senate for blocking some nominees. But critics say the delay in filling jobs lines up with Trump's oft-stated desire to slash the size of the federal bureaucracy.